Doctors learn endometriosis procedure from one of their own via live stream

All eyes were recently on one of the operating rooms at Carolinas Medical Center Mercy.

Dr. Smitha Vilasagar scrubbed in like she normally does at least three days a week. She was set to go into one of the operating rooms at Carolinas Medical Center Mercy. She specializes in a minimally invasive surgery to remove endometriosis with Atrium Health Women's Center for Pelvic Health.

This time there was a small team there to help stream the procedure live to other physicians and residents.

"My goal for this surgery is education to show that it's possible and feasible and we can perform this safely for the patient," said Vilasagar.

Vilasagar never knows exactly what to expect until she gets her patients into the operating room. That's because endometriosis is only definitively diagnosed through surgery. There is no test that can be run. The disorder causes pelvic pain that many silently suffer from.

A small crowd of doctors gathered in an auditorium to watch the procedure that is giving patients hope.

While it's minimally invasive it is still complex. Instead of burning the endometriosis lesions she is removing the disease. "It can look almost one of 20 different ways. The lesions can be black, white, purple, brown, red, blister like. My job is to find anything that looks abnormal and remove it," explained Vilasagar.

She's also tasked with navigating around organs like the bowel and bladder along with other blood vessels.

Residents who watched the surgery say it is a unique way to learn about a complex condition that they will eventually be treating.

"Medicine continues to change every day and you can't keep up if you practice just what you learned in medical school," said Johnathan Seibert, a fourth year OBGYN resident at CMC.

As for Vilasagar's patient she got to go home the same day of the operation. She says her case of endometriosis was severe and that she was happy to help others learn about the procedure.

"She's so brave. She was very excited to educate the community about this," said Vilasagar.