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Antrese’s story: ‘A better chance to live a healthy life’

Published on Thursday February 23, 2023
Antrese Gregory and Joshua Alley, MD

Antrese Gregory was ready to live her best life. To make it a reality, the dedicated teacher and mother of energetic sons needed surgery. 

“I’d already had a few health problems,” she said. “And I couldn’t keep up with my sons who love to play football or with the students in my classroom. I was tired all the time.”

A doctor recommended bariatric surgery. After learning more about her options, she turned to Centra. 

The recent acquisition of two state-of-the-art da Vinci XI robotic surgical systems meant she didn’t have to wait long. The Centra Foundation committed $3.8 million in funding for the innovative technology and expansion of the surgical program, one of its largest funding commitments in nearly a decade.

da Vinci Surgical system

The acquisitions allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgeries at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital and more outpatient surgeries at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital. The system can be used to perform a variety of procedures, including general, urological, gynecological, cardiothoracic and other surgeries.

Antrese had gastric sleeve surgery.

“There are so many benefits for patients, including less pain, faster recovery, decreased waits and smaller incisions,” said Anna Neece, vice president of perioperative services. “Having the new systems will also help us recruit and retain highly qualified surgeons. We are incredibly grateful to donors.”

The system uses advanced robotic, computer and optical technology. However, the surgeon remains fully in control.  

"It really enhances my ability to use natural movements in performing surgery,” said Joshua Alley, MD, FACS, who performed Antrese’s surgery. “It brings minimally invasive surgery into the modern era. Surgeons can carry out more complex procedures in a very precise and safe manner.”

Antrese raves about her experience and how she felt soon after.

Antrese Gregory

“No pain!” she said with a broad smile. “It was really a great experience all around. Dr. Alley was wonderful and so were the nurses. You can tell they really care about their patients.”

Going into surgery, Antrese wasn’t sure how she would feel or what to expect. 

“I tell others it’s OK to be a little nervous but never let fear of the unknown stop you from facing what you do know,” she said. “This surgery gave me a much better chance to live a healthy life.”

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