Silver Cross Hospital

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New Lenox, IL (October 17, 2012)—When the new Silver Cross Hospital opened earlier this year, they debuted the Si™ Robot, which is the most advanced robotic-assisted technology available today.  The robot, known at Silver Cross as Mia, which stands for minimally invasive approach, has been used by surgeons on staff at the New Lenox hospital to perform more than 100 robotic surgeries in the past six months.

"Robotic surgery is the latest, technologically advanced approach to laparoscopic and minimally-invasive surgery. In the hands of properly trained and experienced surgeons, the surgical robot offers better clinical outcomes, including less pain, a shorter hospital stay, and faster return to normal activities," said Dr. Thai Nguyen, urologist and medical director of the robotic surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital. davincicompanyphoto

The robot is designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach. “The system combines a surgeon's skill with precision technology to provide patients with the newest minimally invasive option for complex surgeries,” said Dr. Nahla Merhi, gynecologist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. 

Photo: Pictured is the innovative Surgical Si System known as the “robot.”

Surgeons at Silver Cross use the robot to perform prostatectomies and gynecological surgical procedures. They have also performed several medical oncology procedures for colorectal, breast, stomach, and esophageal cancers over the past six months. 

 “Extremely technical cancer surgeries are now being performed laparoscopically here at Silver Cross using this latest robot,”  “said Dr. Reza Gamagami, general surgeon on staff at Silver Cross.  

Additionally, through a partnership between Silver Cross Hospital and The University of Chicago Medicine, patients are receiving comprehensive cancer care close to home.  

Obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Francisco Garcini adds, “Compared to traditional open surgeries, patients benefit from less scarring, minimal bleeding, shorter hospital stays and faster, less painful recoveries. 

How does it Work?

Controlled by a surgeon from a console, the innovative robot is used to make 1 to 2 cm 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 robotic system cannot be programmed or can it make decisions by itself,” said Luke Cho, M.D., urologist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “The System requires that every surgical movement be performed with direct input from the surgeon.” 

Robot Benefits Patients Undergoing Complex Procedures

Alsip resident Maureen Paulmeyer underwent a complicated procedure to remove a benign ovarian cyst the size of a tangerine using the robot. “Ms. Paulmeyer's cyst was located in the retroperitoneum (the far posterior deep part of the abdominal cavity), which is an unusual spot for ovarian cysts thusly ideal for the robotic surgical approach,” said Dr. Thomas Vasdekas, the general surgeon who performed her procedure using the robot. 

During traditional surgeries, a patient would spend 5 to7 days in the hospital.  However with the robot Surgical System, Paulmeyer went home the same day with only a band-aid covering three small incisions. 

“I was so glad to go home to recover in my own home. By using the robot, my major surgery did not end up being a huge interruption to my life,” said 45-year-old Paulmeyer, who is a Junior High School Principal. 

Physicians on the Silver Cross Medical Staff, who are credentialed to perform surgery using the Si™ Surgical System include:

• Dorothy Anoina, obstetrician/gynecologist

• Luke Cho, M.D., urologist

• Sandra Culbertson, M.D., urogynecologist

• Reza Gamagami, M.D., general surgeon

• Francisco Garcini, M.D., Ph.D., obstetrician/gynecologist

• Monique Jones, obstetrician/gynecologist

• Nita Lee, obstetrician/gynecologist

• Nahla  Merhi, M.D., gynecologist

• Thai Nguyen, M.D., urologist (Medical Director)

• Thomas Vasdekas, M.D., general surgeon 

Free Lectures

Surgeons specially trained in robotic surgery will host free seminar in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center located in Pavilion A at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend at or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325). 

Women who are considering a hysterectomy, can learn why daVinci surgery may be their best treatment option.  Join Dr. Nahla Merhi, gynecologist, for a lecture on Big Decisions, Small Incisions on Tuesday, October 23 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. She will discuss the latest innovative procedures to help relieve chronic pain within the reproductive system using robotic surgery. 

For women who have had a hysterectomy, experienced vaginal birth or are obese and are living with pelvic prolapse, join Dr. Luke Cho, urologist, to learn about the benefits of surgery to correct this medical problem using the daVinci robot. This free Women & Pelvic Problems lecture will be held on Monday,   December 3 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

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; one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers and was honored with an “A” Hospital Safety ScoreSM by The Leapfrog Group. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices and recently opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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.