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Physician on Staff at Silver Cross Hospital is the First Female General Surgeon in Illinois to Perform Robotic Single-Incision Gallbladder Surgery

New Lenox, IL (April 24, 2014)— Dr. Laura Ragauskaite is the first female general surgeon in the state of Illinois to perform a da Vinci® Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) on March 17, 2014 at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Using robotic assistance, Dr. Ragauskaite, board certified general surgeon, and a surgical team at Silver Cross removed the patient’s gallbladder through a tiny one-inch incision in the belly button, leaving only a small, nearly invisible scar. 

Dr. Ragauskaite, who has completed a total of 28 da Vinci® single-incision gallbladder surgeries in just 4 months at Silver Cross, believes the robot offers better viewing through enhanced magnification and 3-D vision, allowing for a safer, less traumatic, quicker recovery and superior cosmetic outcome.  

Da Vinci is a robotic surgical system widely used in complex, minimally invasive surgery; however, it was only in December 2011 that the Food and Drug Administration cleared the specialized Single-Site instruments for use with the da Vinci robot.

Dr. Ragauskaite is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the surgery, and one of several on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. 

“Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci system are the most highly advanced tools of surgical equipment,” said Dr. Ragauskaite. “We are excited to offer this type of cutting-edge technology to our patients.” 

Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about one hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours. 

How it Works

During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera.  In real-time, the system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.  Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this new technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed. 

Most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders. More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Most are performed with traditional laparoscopy using several incisions. 

Interestingly, misconceptions still exist that the robot is actually performing the surgery all by itself. “The important aspect to understand is that the robotic system cannot make decisions by itself,” said Dr. Ragauskaite. “The da Vinci System requires that every surgical movement be performed with direct input from the surgeon.”

Silver Cross began offering robotic surgery in the new hospital at I-355 and Route 6 in April 2012 and has since performed close to 1,100 procedures for hernia repairs, urology, gynecology, colorectal and digestive diseases. Uniquely the hospital has two robotic surgical devices and currently 25 physicians on the Silver Cross Medical Staff are credentialed to perform surgery using the da Vinci Si™ Surgical System. For a referral to a surgeon who performs robotic surgery, call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit http://www.silvercross.org/our-services/other-services/davinci-robotic-surgery.

About Dr. Laura Ragauskaite

Laura Ragauskaite, M.D., is a board certified general surgeon on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. Dr. Ragauskaite attended medical school at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago. She completed a general surgery residency at the University of Illinois-Metro Group in Chicago. Her office is located with Progressive Surgical Associates at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., Suite 410, New Lenox. To schedule an appointment, call her office at (815) 717-8730.

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 5 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. In 2013, Silver Cross provided over $48 million in charity care and other community benefits. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit http://www.silvercross.org/ or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325). Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.

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