Dr. Raquel Silhy

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Dr. Raquel Silhy

Dr. Raquel Silhy grew up in El Salvador but has called the Rio Grande Valley home for the past three years. When asked why she chose the Valley, Dr. Silhy expressed it was her desire to raise her kids in dual languages and cultures that led her here. “My husband is from West Virginia and finding people who speak Spanish in West Virginia is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.” Moving to a predominantly bilingual and bicultural area of the world just made sense for their family. From a career standpoint, being a bilingual physician in the Valley is very important. “I can usually tell that patients become more at ease when I’m able to speak to them in Spanish if they so choose. It helps them relax a little more when they’re already stressed about their health.”

Dr. Silhy has a personal passion and dedication to the research and medical care of breast cancer patients as her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after she completed medical school. Supporting her mother through her treatments gave Dr. Silhy a more understanding perspective from the patient side and contributed to her becoming the compassionate physician she is today. For the upcoming year, Dr. Silhy hopes to be a part of the two new breast cancer centers opening soon here in the Valley. She has confidence that this will keep more of our patients here locally.

Dr. Silhy also works extensively with pediatric patients, performing surgeries for children from three weeks old to eighteen years of age. “I’ve found that a lot of these young patients are being sent far from home to get their procedures done when we can do their pyloric stenosis and other surgical procedures right here.”

As a mother of three, Dr. Silhy knows how hectic life can be for a working parent. She also says when it comes to medicine and practicing surgery, “I always think, if I can’t do it for my kid, I can’t do it for somebody else’s kid.” She states that comfort with her own skills is very important and feels a personal responsibility for the care of her patients. Speaking as a mother of three daughters, one of whom needed to have multiple surgeries of her own, “I understand the difficulty when a family has to leave work and other family members, drive long distances and take your child out of town for medical procedures. You do it because it’s your child and you’ll do whatever it is you need to, but I also understand how much more convenient it would have been if I could have had my child’s procedures and care in my own city.”

Dr. Silhy contributes her ability to stay on track and focused with her daily life as a busy doctor and mother due to the wonderful support of her husband. “We tag team a lot. No matter what profession you have as a mom, you always have to juggle everything. It’s a different degree of things. It takes a village to raise a kid,” she giggles when asked how she is able to manage so much. She also mentioned that having everything within close proximity (work to school, school to home, etc.) is a major factor in the life balancing act. As this interview was conducted, Dr. Silhy was waiting for one of her daughters at dance class – demonstrating a classic example of how women are the true masters of multitasking.

When Dr. Silhy spoke of her medical education and training, she expressed her gratitude for the opportunities to learn procedures such as colorectal surgery, trauma, pediatric, vascular, and oncology surgery. Dr. Silhy was privileged to rotate through these areas during her residency and she accredits her excellent training and specialization as a general surgeon as the reason she is now able to perform these complex procedures.

To Dr. Silhy, patient safety is her biggest priority. Some procedures such as colon resections for colon cancer and diverticulitis can be performed with robotic surgery, which is an advanced type of surgical procedure that allows for smaller incisions, faster recovery time and shorter hospital stays, thus allowing patients to get back to their normal routines much faster. While not everyone is a candidate for robotic procedures, it is a beneficial option to discuss with your physician. Some complications that may prevent a patient from being a candidate for robotic surgery include having too many prior surgeries, too much scar tissue in the area of concern, and abnormalities that could potentially block the view of the camera during the procedure.

Hiatal hernia repair and gallbladder surgery are also procedures that benefits from robotic surgery. Many patients are prescribed pain medications after such procedures, but with robotic surgery’s more rapid healing and smaller incisions, many patients have stated that they have not needed to use any pain medication stronger than Tylenol or Motrin post-surgery. Thus, the robotic technology is promoting a cut back on the usage of narcotics and opioids; a rising epidemic in our country. Benefits also include shorter hospital stays, such as those for a colon resection, which on average used to be a seven to ten day stay at a hospital, whereas now, with robotic technology, many patients are now able to leave the hospital after only three to five days.

Dr. Silhy sees patients in Weslaco, Harlingen, and Brownsville and may be reached at 956-622-3281 or 956-621-4981.

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