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This weight loss surgery offers less pain and downtime

SAN ANTONIO – Robotic sleeve gastrectomy is the latest in bypass weight loss surgery.

The surgery is performed using cutting-edge robotic technology to minimize trauma to the patient, meaning a faster recovery and less pain.

For one woman, who has already lost nearly 80 pounds, it was just what the doctor ordered. 

Teresina Francis is a busy, hard-working mom, but at 295 pounds, she found that it was all she could do, to get through the days.

“I was always tired. I was always looking for a reason to not do something," Francis said. "The tipping point for me was that I finally saw myself as a morbidly obese person in the mirror."

Frustrated, she turned to laparoscopic gastric surgery, using groundbreaking robotic technology.

Dr. David Thomas, a bariatric surgeon at Baptist Health System, said, “The robotic technology allows me to sit at a console. It allows me to operate the hands of the robot, which ideally doesn’t cause as much trauma to the patient.”

The robotic system provides the doctor with vision that is three-dimensional and magnified by ten.

During the procedure, the doctor uses the robot to divide the stomach and remove a large portion of it, leaving a long tube-shaped pouch in place. It can hold up to ten ounces.

“I didn’t have a lot of pain. I didn’t have a lot of nausea. It went really well,” Francis said

“It’s an amazing thing to see in person," Thomas said. "It really does help the patient recover a lot faster.”

“The surgery for me was a huge game changer. This isn’t the easy way out," Francis said. "I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this point. We are outdoors more and we are constantly going and I can keep up instead of falling behind.”

Francis said she has lost 79 pounds so far, and still has a few to go.

This surgery makes the patient feel full faster, they don’t absorb food quite as well, and the part of the stomach that is removed eliminates the hormone ghrelin, which causes people to feel hungry.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.