Navigate Up



Patient Story: Meet Glenda Wilson 

The Challenge

Glenda Wilson was a healthy 61-year-old woman who did all the right things—didn’t smoke, didn’t drink alcohol, and stayed busy running a thriving antique business. While vacationing with her husband in Florida, Glenda was getting ready to go out to the pool and noticed that her neck felt swollen. She turned to her husband to see if he noticed anything odd. He immediately noticed the swelling, and that’s when her life changed forever.

That day marked the beginning of a three-year ordeal that involved being diagnosed with myeloma and nephritis, and getting a bone marrow transplant. During that time, she also developed a mass in the back of her throat. Her doctors weren’t sure if the lump was related to her previous conditions. Imaging studies showed what was potentially a cancerous tumor. However, the tumor was not cancerous, but because of its location at the base of her tongue, it had to be removed.
 

The Path to UPMC

Over a span of three years, Glenda underwent three unsuccessful surgeries to remove the tumor. Using traditional surgical techniques, the surgeons were unable to reach the mass because it was so far down her throat. Their instruments simply couldn’t reach it. Finally, her doctor referred Glenda to the UPMC Eye and Ear Institute where she met with Dr. Umamaheswar Duvvuri.

The Solution

Dr. Duvvuri is a specialist in using Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS). This sophisticated robotic platform allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery for complex procedures similar to the one needed for Glenda’s tumor. During TORS, the surgeon moves the arms of the robot while viewing a magnified, high-resolution, 3D image of the surgical site. This type of surgery makes a smaller incision, resulting in minimal loss of blood, quicker recovery time, a shorter hospital stay, and less pain than traditional surgery.
 
Where prior surgeries caused bruising on her face and cuts on her tongue, the TORS surgery left no bleeding or scarring. The precision of the TORS surgery allowed Dr. Duvvuri to successfully remove the entire tumor.
 

The Results

Glenda was able to go home the day after surgery. “The only reason they had me stay overnight was because I had to drive two hours to get home,” said Glenda, who lives in Farmington, PA.
 
She had some soreness after the surgery, but her recovery went well. After a six-month follow-up visit to Dr. Duvvuri, he said she didn’t need to make another appointment because she was in the clear. That came as a great relief to Glenda. She continues to work at her antiques business, though she puts in fewer hours due to some fatigue from the bone marrow transplant. Through it all, she maintains a positive attitude, and is grateful to the doctors who were able to remove her tumor with such minimal side effects.
 
“I’m so glad that everything worked out so well,” said Glenda. “I’m back to working at my business, and don’t have any signs or symptoms of the tumor. It’s wonderful.”
 
Glenda's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.  

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com