Published on September 19, 2016

New Lenox Woman discomfort eliminated after innovative Single-Site™ robotic hysterectomy at Silver Cross

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

For three years, New Lenox resident Nadine Lawson hoped her uterine fibroid would shrink and disappear. Instead, she felt bloated and uncomfortable for years as the mass grew larger pressing on her bladder requiring her to constantly urinate. Since the fibroid enlarged, the 49-year-old was unable to have her annual gynecological exam completed. On the recommendation from her urogynecologist, Dr. Nahla Merhi, Lawson had a Single-Site™ robotic hysterectomy at the Midwest Institute of Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. Silver Cross was one of the first hospitals in the entire Midwest where skilled surgeons use the robotic surgical system to perform hysterectomies through a single incision with virtually scarless results. 

Dr. Merhi was wonderful while she guided me to choose robotic surgery and throughout my entire recovery,” said Lawson.  “As a result of her expertise and the thoughtful 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 only wish I didn’t wait so long to have the surgery because I could have avoided being in such discomfort for so many years.” 

Lawson’s case proved to be unusual since Dr. Merhi discovered something unexpected during surgery. “Nadine’s fibroid was actually two large fibroids joined together, said Nahla Merhi, M.D., who is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Silver Cross Hospital. “Even when her case became more complicated by having to remove two large masses, the enhanced vision, precision, and dexterity that is gained by using the robot, enabled me to perform a successful surgery.” 

Benefits to Single-Site™ Hysterectomy

“During a Single-Site™ robotic hysterectomy just one single incision is made through the belly button, so patients, like Nadine, can get back to life faster without the usual recovery following major surgery,” said Dr. Merhi, who has performed more than 500 robotic surgeries and more than 200 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.” 

How Does it Work?

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.  Here, instruments are placed to treat chronic pain, heavy bleeding, non-cancerous fibroids, endometriosis, and prolapse by surgically removing the uterus, know as a hysterectomy. 

Many women who require a hysterectomy are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hysterectomy is the second most common surgical procedure for women in the United States, and an estimated one-third of all women will have a hysterectomy by age 60. 

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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.