Published on March 21, 2019

Tinley Park Man Exercising 2 Weeks after Robotic Hernia Surgery at Silver Cross

Ken Lehmann of Tinley Park lived with an inguinal hernia for more than a year. It wasn’t until he went in for his regular checkup last December that his doctor recommended surgery.

ken lehmann

“I remember blowing my nose one day and felt a small pop,” he said. “After a checkup with my doctor, he sent me over to Dr. Vasdekas to get checked out for the hernia.”

Dr. Thomas Vasdekas, board-certified general surgeon with the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, confirmed Lehmann had a left inguinal hernia, and that surgery was the best option to repair it – specifically robotic-assisted surgery at Silver Cross Hospital.

An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object.

While common and not usually life-threatening, inguinal hernias don’t go away on their own, Dr. Vasdekas explained. Even smaller hernias eventually grow larger and need to be surgically repaired.

“The advantages with robotic-assisted surgery are that we can make incredibly small incisions to repair the hernia, giving the patient a faster recovery time and with a lot less pain,” Dr. Vasdekas said, who has performed more than 1,000 robotic surgeries. “Less pain means patients require less pain medications. We’re actually seeing less opioid use with robotic surgeries.”

Robotic hernia surgery requires three small incisions, two on either side of the lower abdomen and one through the belly button. The da Vinci robotic system at Silver Cross gives surgeons greater dexterity to perform the procedure, while the small incisions cause less strain on the abdomen making recovery for the patient easier.

Lehmann went in for surgery on Jan. 30, and was back to work two days later. He said he had no pain from his incisions, and only some discomfort from the gas used during surgery.

“Now, all I have are two quarter inch lines on my stomach, and you can barely even tell anything was done,” he said. “I don’t think it could’ve gone any better.”

Healthy and active, Lehmann likes to ride his bicycle 300 miles every month when the weather is warmer. He also works out three times a week. Thanks to robotic surgery at the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, he was only off his schedule for a couple of weeks!

“After I had my two-week checkup with Dr. Vasdekas, he gave me the OK to start working out again. By then I felt like I could do anything.”

“Everyone at Silver Cross was awesome,” he said. “From the first person that greeted me, to the nurses, anesthesiologists, everyone was incredibly caring and amazing. I felt pretty much at ease from the moment I met Dr. Vasdekas and throughout the process.”

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.