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Robotic Surgery with One Incision Helps Mom Get Back on Her Feet

PLANO, Texas — Nicole Pitcher isn’t one to want to sit around, but when her gallbladder attacks worsened she knew she needed surgery.

Nicole Pitcher
Nicole Pitcher

The 32-year-old mom of two had lived with gallbladder pain for several years because the attacks would come and go. Attacks could last 20 minutes or several hours. But over the years the frequency of attacks increased so she saw a gastroenterologist who recommended surgery to remove the gallbladder.

That’s how she met Dr. Dean Cione, a surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

Cione is one of just a handful of doctors in North Texas and the only one in Collin County performing gallbladder removals with the daVinci® Surgical Robot using only one incision. Prior to this surgery many gallbladder removals were done laparoscopically or with the surgical robot, but the procedures had required multiple incisions. Cione performs the surgery now with one incision through the belly button which he said limits scarring and quickens recovery time.

“This is the next evolution in minimally invasive surgery,” said Cione, who also is president of the hospital’s medical staff.

Cione recommended Pitcher have her gallbladder removed using this new technique because it would help her get back to exercising and taking care of her children, age 6 and 10, faster.

“I wanted to get back on my feet quickly,” said Pitcher, who felt ready to get back to Crossfit within two weeks of surgery. “I’m big into fitness and wanted to recover as fast as I could.”

To qualify for the single incision surgery using the daVinci robot, patients must have a body mass index of less than 30, be young and active and have had no prior surgeries, Cione said. About one-third of patients needing their gallbladder removed will qualify for the single-incision procedure.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is a 368-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to Plano and surrounding areas since 1991. The hospital’s services include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Plano has more than 1,600 employees and 1,200 physicians on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

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