Valley Baptist Doctor Performs Valley’s 1st Robotic Colon Surgery


By Michael Swartz

Dr. Eldo Frezza, General Surgeon, has performed the first robotic-assisted surgery in the Lower Valley to remove part of a colon in order to treat cancer and other conditions.

Dr. Frezza used the da Vinci® robotic surgical system at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen to perform “colectomy” procedures on three patients from the Harlingen area.   Dr. Frezza said the patients did well following the surgeries and the patients were able to return to their homes within a few days.

The minimally-invasive technique, in which specially trained physicians guide precision robotic instruments, uses much-smaller incisions than traditional surgery.  In many cases, this means that patients have a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery times, along with less pain and less risk of infection.

During the procedure, Dr. Frezza controls the robotic arms which are used as a high precision method to remove all or part of the colon which may have been affected by cancer, benign or pre-cancerous polyps.  The surgery seeks to treat the disease while preserving the patient’s normal bowel function.

The robotic-assisted surgery is done through tiny incisions which are only one to two centimeters, as compared to large abdominal incisions used in traditional open operations.  In many cases the patient has better outcomes, with a faster return to bowel function and to a regular diet.

“This is a definite benefit to the patients, as many of them are able to return to a more normal lifestyle much sooner,” Dr. Frezza said.

Dr. Frezza performs robotic-assisted surgery on many patients from Brownsville, as well as Harlingen and other parts of the Valley.  The robot is also being used by other specially trained surgeons on the Valley Baptist-Harlingen and Valley Baptist-Brownsville medical staffs for various types of surgery.  These include prostate cancer surgery in men, gynecological surgery in women, and other types of surgery.

For more information on robotic-assisted surgery and other advances in health care in the Valley, consult your physician, and visit