Karalyn R. Bentley, MD

Sep 9, 2021 | Team Member Spotlights

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After graduating high school, Karalyn R. Bentley, MD, didn’t take a summer job. She didn’t get ready to head off to college. Instead, she packed her bags for India. 

The Oregon native spent four years in India with a nonprofit organization that provides basic healthcare and nutrition training in India’s inner-city areas. When she returned home, she had a new mission: She wanted medical training. Initially, she planned to become a nurse. Then she decided to become an OB/GYN. Eventually, she found her place in general surgery. 

“I was attracted to general surgery,” Dr. Bentley says, “because of the breadth of cases they handle and the ability to work with my hands.” 

Inside Dr. Bentley’s Training 

Dr. Bentley’s journey to general surgery began at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology, she then headed to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa.  

During her time there, she had more atypical experiences. She didn’t spend her summer breaks relaxing or visiting friends. She spent them helping others on medical mission trips to Ghana and Uganda to care for those in need. 

With her medical degree in hand, Dr. Bentley completed her general surgery residency at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. This was followed by an advanced GI minimally invasive surgery Fellowship with Surgeons Group of Baton Rouge at Our Lady of the Lake.  

At the end of her Fellowship training, Dr. Bentley was invited to stay, and she was thrilled to do so and become the first woman surgeon to join the group.   

A Heart for Robotics 

Since her residency, Dr. Bentley has had a passion for robotic surgery. She loves it so much that she performed more robotic-assisted surgeries than any other chief resident in the country.  

Though Dr. Bentley performs various robotic surgeries, she’s particularly excited about abdominal wall reconstruction and hernia repair.  

“This represents the frontline of robotic surgery,” she says. “It’s exciting to push the boundaries so we can continue to improve results for patients.” 

From Dr. Bentley’s perspective, the robot offers tremendous benefits. Using the robot, she can see the surgical site in 3D. She has complete control over the placement of the camera. She controls four surgical arms at once, each with the same movement ability as a human wrist. And the tools with robotic surgery lead to more precise dissections, better cauterizing, better stapling and more. 

The results speak for themselves. Complex surgeries are less invasive. Patients have less pain. They go home and recover faster.  

But Dr. Bentley explains that the benefits don’t just belong to the patient. Because robotic surgeries are performed in an ergonomically correct position, surgeons have fewer aches and pains afterward. This enables surgeons to perform long, complicated procedures with greater ease. It also leads to prolonged surgical careers. 

Beyond Robotics 

While Dr. Bentley loves robotic surgery, she has even more love for her patients and colleagues.  

“I work with a really amazing group of people,” says Dr. Bentley. “Everyone works together well and is supportive.”  

Away from work, Dr. Bentley enjoys traveling to national parks. Her recent favorite is Glacier Park in Montana. When in town, she’s often outside walking her two dogs—Vesper the rescue pup and Violet the German shepherd. At other times, she’s busy taking photos. Her current favorite subject? Birds. 

“My minimally invasive Fellowship drew me to Louisiana, and the people made me want to stay,” she says. “The cypress trees and Spanish moss, the variety of wildlife, the culture and the friendly people—it’s all so wonderful. I love it here.” 

Learn more about the Our Lady of the Lake Robotic Surgery Institute here.

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