Silver Cross Hospital

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Midwest Institute of Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross #1 in Chicago area for surgeries performed

For over two decades, Plainfield resident Beth Kenealy’s quality of life was in a downward spiral. She suffered from constant incontinence which advanced to the point she was wearing the largest incontinence pad. In addition, after the birth of her third child, she had severe, heavy periods that included blood clots.

“I was miserably stressed for years. I spent my entire work days running to the bathroom trying to avoid either urinating or bleeding through my pants,” said the 47-year-old truck driver. “As I drove my truck, I anxiously hoped that I’d be able to make it to the next bathroom without having another accident. I knew I had to get help because I started missing days of work because of my conditions.” 

So by a recommendation from her primary care physician, Kenealy met with urogynecologist, Dr. Nahla Merhi with The Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. Surgeons from around the country come to Silver Cross to observe Dr. Merhi perform complex surgeries such as Single-Site Hysterectomy® with the assistance of the daVinci robotic surgical system. 

After evaluating her options with Dr. Merhi, Kenealy had a robotic hysterectomy and Burch bladder suspension surgery at Silver Cross on April 24, 2017. Silver Cross was one of the first hospitals in the entire Midwest where skilled surgeons use the robotic surgical system to perform hysterectomies with virtually scarless results. 

“Dr. Merhi is awesome! She took the time to find out what was wrong with me, in order to figure out the correct solution to fix my problems,” said Kenealy.  “Because of her advanced expertise and the compassionate care I received from the nurses at Silver Cross, I was up and walking around hours after surgery. I even went home the same day. I am no longer living in misery and I am so shocked at how good I feel only a few weeks after my surgery.” 

Kenealy preferred to have the Burch bladder suspension since it lifts the bladder to treat urine incontinence without using any foreign body or mesh material.  After her robotic surgery, she has no pain, incontinence or severe bleeding issues. 

“It is so fantastic to not be continuously stressed running to the bathroom anymore,” exclaimed Kenealy. “I am so thankful to Dr. Merhi for significantly improving the quality of my life.” 

“Thanks to the enhanced vision, precision, and dexterity that are gained by using the robot, I was able to successfully perform a very complex surgery while allowing Beth to have a quicker recovery,” said Nahla Merhi, M.D., who is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Silver Cross Hospital.

Benefits to Robotic Gynaecological Surgery

“During Beth’s robotic hysterectomy and burch bladder suspension surgery just a few incisions were made through her belly button and abdomen, so she could get back to life faster without the usual recovery following major surgery,” said Dr. Merhi, who has performed more than 600 robotic surgeries and more than 350 single site robotic cases. “In addition, there are many potential benefits over traditional open surgery, including minimal blood loss, less scarring, shorter hospital stay, low risk of complications, and a faster recovery. The benefits are remarkable!” 

How Does it Work?

Controlled by a surgeon from a console, the innovative da Vinci robot is used to make 8mm (`1/3 inch) to 12 mm (~ 1/2 inch) incisions and then long, delicate instruments are inserted into the patient that enable specially trained physicians to perform the surgery. 

Interestingly, misconceptions still exist that the robot is actually performing the surgery all by itself. “The important aspect to understand is that the da Vinci robotic system cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions by itself,” said Dr. Nahla Merhi. “The da Vinci System can only operate with direct input from the surgeon.” 

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.  

To learn more about robotic surgery, visit us online. Click here for a referral to a physician on staff at Silver Cross.  

Located at 1900 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox, IL 60451   Main Phone (815) 300-1100

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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.