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    Methodist Sugar Land Hospital's advancements in robotic chest surgery

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Methodist Sugar Land Hospital recently performed the first robotic chest procedure in Fort Bend County. A removal of a mediastinal mass in the thoracic cavity was successfully performed—adding to the list of many other minimally invasive surgical procedures which are being completed at this hospital. 

    Uttam Tripathy, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, conducted the surgery using the da Vinci® S Surgical System allowing the surgeon’s hands to be scaled, filtered and translated into precise movements of micro-instruments, which are introduced into the chest cavity through small 8-12 mm port incisions.

    This type of surgery traditionally involves a long incision either along the neck or down the middle of the chest.  The da Vinci® S Surgical System, however, allows the surgeon to make just three to four small incisions in the chest for the inclusion of a tiny video camera and micro-surgical instruments.  Robotic surgery provides a wide range of benefits over traditional open-chest surgery, including:

    • shorter hospital stays
    • less pain and scarring
    • less risk of wound infection
    • less blood loss and fewer transfusions
    • faster recovery and a quicker return to normal activities.

    It can also be judiciously considered for other chest procedures.

    “The mass removal is a major procedure that previously required an open chest and all the associated risks and difficulties,” says Dr. Tripathy.  “Robotic technology enables us to be even more precise and detailed in our surgical approach while using a less-invasive method of reaching the tumors.  It’s a benefit to both the patient and the surgeon.”

    Dr. Tripathy’s patient, Sandra McKenzie, says the procedure was easier than expected.  After undergoing the procedure at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Sandra was released to go home just three and a half days later. If Sandra had the traditional surgery, her hospital stay could have been as long as ­­­seven days.

    Initially, Sandra was seen by her primary care provider, Elizabeth Torres, M.D., for a routine checkup. After testing revealed a suspicious tumor she was then referred to oncologist, Sanjay Sethi, M.D. Dr. Sethi then consulted with Dr. Tripathy for removal and biopsy of the tumor. Once Dr. Tripathy met with Sandra he felt she was a perfect candidate for robotic surgery.

    “I recovered far more quickly than I anticipated and the pain was very manageable. My care in the ICU at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital was marvelous. The nursing staff was so attentive and didn’t miss a beat,” McKenzie says. “Keeping a positive and uplifting spirit and receiving the best care at the best hospital throughout the entire process has really helped me get back to life so quickly.”

    For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tripathy or another cardiothoracic surgeon in your area, please call the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital physician referral line at 281-274-7500. 

    Uttam Tripathy, M.D., Sandra McKenzie and Elizabeth Torres, M.D.

    Methodist Sugar Land is first in county to successfully perform rhomboid flap surgery for pilonidal cyst

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Ali Mahmood, M.D., board certified colon and rectal surgeon at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is the first surgeon in Fort Bend County to complete a rhomboid flap surgery to help a patient with a painful, chronic condition called pilonidal disease.

    The disease starts as a small cyst, which can often become infected.  The disease manifests itself from an infected hair follicle. They are more common in men than women, and typically found in men under 40 years old. The cysts can be quite painful and make everyday tasks, like sitting, difficult.

    Dr. Mahmood performed this complex surgery by cutting a flap of skin around the cyst, removing the cyst and a large section of tissue around it, and then repositioning the skin to cover the area that was removed.

    “I am pleased to offer this procedure to people in the greater Houston area experiencing pilonidal cysts,” said Dr. Mahmood. “The main advantage over other treatments is that the cyst is far less likely to return with this procedure, giving people long-term relief and a better quality of life.”

    Until now, the only treatments for pilonidal cyst involved incision and drainage of the cyst, leaving either an open or closed wound. People with this condition often face multiple surgeries over many years, as the cyst frequently returns. In addition, complications often arise from the older forms of treatments.

    “Performing the rhomboid flap surgery at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital allowed the patient to receive outstanding care close to home. I am glad that I was able to use this procedure to relieve the patient of his painful and debilitating condition,” said Dr. Mahmood.

    After a brief recovery period, the patient was able to return to work and his normal activities.

    The rhomboid flap surgery is the latest in a long list of procedures that were first performed in Fort Bend County at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. In the last few years, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital physicians have successfully performed abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, angioplasty with stents, brain surgery, carotid artery stenting, gastric lap band surgery, open-heart surgery, robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, single port laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, urinary bladder reconstruction, video-assisted esophagomyotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

    To make an appointment with Dr. Mahmood or another colon and rectal surgeon in your area, call Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s physician referral line 281-274-7500 or visit

    Ali Mahmood, M.D.

    Powerful Tools for Caregivers® — Seminars

    Last updated 2 years ago

    A caregiver is someone who has taken on the very selfless role of caring for a loved one. Many times the caregiver has the great responsibility of making sure their loved one’s basic needs are met which requires work and dedication.

    By taking care of his or her own needs, the caregiver will be able to better care for those who depend on them. Powerful Tools for Caregivers® is an educational program to help family and friends caring for older adults with long-term health conditions.

    The free seminar consists of six classes, each of which focuses on different tools that will help guide the caregiver through the care giving journey. You will learn about setting goals, staying motivated and dealing with feelings of anger, guilt and depression, giving you the increased confidence and ability to cope with the demands of care giving.

    This six-week course begins Thursday, April 12 and runs through Thursday, May 17.  Classes are held every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Sweetwater Pavilion Chapel at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. To register or for more information, call the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Spiritual Care department at 281-274-7164 or email Seating is Limited.

    GE 3T wide bore MRI – First in Texas – now available only at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

    Last updated 2 years ago

    The industry’s most powerful whole body 3 Tesla MRI technology has been upgraded. Methodist Sugar Land Hospital (MSLH) is now home to the Discovery MR750w 3T MRI system from GE Healthcare—the first in Texas.

    This MRI machine features a new sophisticated design and upgrades that benefit both patients and technicians alike.

    New features such as the wide bore and redesigned table cushion enhance patient comfort during the exam. The wide bore accommodates larger, claustrophobic, elderly or young patients, or those who are in pain by providing a widened, roomier machine. The wide bore is 70 centimeters, 10 centimeters larger in diameter than the standard MRI and provides more headroom, more legroom and more elbowroom so that patients don’t feel like they are “nose-to-magnet”. The new MRI provides a comfortable, nonthreatening experience for claustrophobic patients and an increased weight limit of 500 pounds.

    The flexible coils on the new table cushion embrace the patient, helping to minimize anxiety and motion during the exam by naturally following the contours of the human body. “In addition, the new magnet is very quiet, allowing patients a more relaxing experience,” stated Janet Leatherwood, Chief Nursing Officer.

    Dr. Robert Malone, board certified radiologist and Medical Director of Radiology at MSLH, is enthusiastic about the new MRI. “This new MRI is the best, state-of-the-art technology available with twice the strength of a conventional MRI and four times the strength of an open MRI. Now, patients who are uncomfortable in a traditional MRI or those who are claustrophobic can feel comfortable with more room all around. Plus, in all exams patients can now enter feet first rather than headfirst and we can provide rapid screening of multiple areas of the body without repositioning the patient.”

    The Discovery MR750w 3.0T MRI system from GE Healthcare helps doctors definitively diagnose the most complex cases. From sports injuries to life-threatening heart conditions, doctors can diagnose with confidence. The Discovery MR750w 3T, which is more powerful than previous generation MRI systems, uses the latest High Definition (HD) technology to produce superb, high-resolution images while producing faster scans.

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnet field rather than X-rays to produce very detailed, cross-sectional images of the body. MRI requires specialized equipment and expertise and allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other imaging methods.

    “We are pleased to be the first in Texas and the third in the Nation to offer the latest in MRI technology and to provide the highest quality diagnostic power to our patients and their doctors,” says Leatherwood.

    For more information on Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit or to schedule an MRI, please call 281-274-7170.

    The Discovery MR750w 3T MRI

    Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Breast Center Team now includes a Breast Care Navigator

    Last updated 2 years ago

    The Breast Center at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital (MSLH) welcomes Maria Socci, RN, to our Breast Care Team. Maria will serve as our Breast Care Navigator, a resource expert who will help guide breast cancer patients through the emotional and complex journey from diagnosis through survivorship.  Socci is a registered nurse with specialty training in oncology.

     “Adding the Breast Cancer Navigator to the Breast Care Team is the final component of the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Breast Center service team goal,” said Janet Leatherwood, Chief Nursing Officer at MSLH. “The Navigator serves as a continuous point of contact for patients and their families throughout the entire cancer care experience; making the decision-making process much easier on everyone involved.”

    Socci plays a vital role on the patient’s Breast Care Team, attending case reviews and discussions regarding the patient’s personalized treatment plan, educating the patient about treatment options, coordinating other health appointment needs and serving as the patient’s advocate.

    Breast Care Navigators specialize in stress reduction and detail management, allowing the patient and family to make informed decisions about their individualized course of therapy. Socci’s unique approach helps patients:

    • Understand the continuum of care.  This usually begins with discussions of their different procedure options and coordination of various appointments.
    • Make appropriate decisions by ensuring the patient and their family are educated and fully understand each option.
    • Feel empowered in their care through participation in the various support groups available to them, such as the Methodist Sugar Land Breast Cancer Support Group, CanCare, American Cancer Society and others.

    For more information or for a second opinion, please call Maria at 281-276-8989 or email To schedule a mammogram at the Breast Center at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, call 281-242-PINK (7465). 

    Maria Socci, RN

    About Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

    Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, part of The Methodist Hospital System and ranked as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by FORTUNE Magazine, is committed to serving the healthcare needs of our community. We have some of the most advanced technology and medical capabilities in the area and have maintained the highest quality of care The Methodist Hospital is known for internationally. Our Centers of Excellence include cardiology, neuro-sciences, oncology, orthopedics, women’s services and urology.

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