Being at the forefront of medicine these days involves a great deal of technological advancement, but behind every computer, program and robotic device at Little Company of Mary Hospital are physicians and support staff with experience.
“We provide the latest and the best available,” says Dr. Robert Bonaminio, Chairman Department of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, adding the Evergreen Park hospital competes with larger university hospitals. “We approach it in a team fashion. We have outstanding nurses and surgical assistants who help make us such a successful program.” In addition to Little Company of Mary’s staff experience there are many positives to robotic surgeries for the patient.
Rather than a three to four day hospital stay, robotic surgery patients are often released the same day or within 23 hours, incisions are about 1 centimeter compared to 4 to 10 inches for other surgeries and a recovery of about two weeks compared to six weeks, explains Bonaminio. Other benefits include a decrease in wound infections, diminished scarring, decreased pain that would require narcotics, less blood loss, and has similar outcomes as other procedures done for cancer, explains Dr. Steven M. Pierpaoli, Chairman, Department of Surgery. “When one explains to a patient that they will have smaller incisions, less pain, quicker return to normal activities, and less blood loss most patients have a very positive response,” he says. “At this point I find that most patients are familiar with the concept of robotic surgery and some are actually asking for it by name.”
The robotic technology is being used by urologists at Little Company of Mary to make repairs in pelvic and bladder conditions as well as to treat patients with a variety of cancers. There are a number of gynecological issues that can be addressed with robotic surgery including hysterectomies, surgery to remove endometriosis and fibroids. “I currently perform about 75 to 80 percent of my hysterectomy cases using robotics,” says Bonaminio. “My partner, Dr. (Travis) Haldeman also performs surgeries using the robot, his guidance and expertise is priceless.”
Bonaminio has been doing minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for 15 years, but robotic surgery takes it to another level. “Robotic surgery has revolutionized laparoscopics,” he says. “You can see much better, the mobility of the robot can get in certain areas with greater dexterity.”
During a robotic procedure the surgeon is next to the patient at a console. The surgeon is controlling a small camera and robotic arms. A surgical assistant is part of the team available to switch equipment or assist where needed, explains Bonaminio.
The technology offers an advanced level of precision. “The wrists of the robotic instruments have significantly better movement and dexterity then our own hands and arms,” says Pierpaoli. The da Vinci robotic surgery technology was purchased in 2005 making Little Company of Mary the first hospital in the Southwest suburbs using the technology, according to Pierpaoli. Urologists on staff championed robotic surgery as a minimally invasive way to help cure localized prostate cancer, Pierpaoli says.
The hospital staff took the robotic surgery to the next level in 2009 with the more advanced Si model with greatly improved 3-D imaging. “This has allowed us to perform more complicated procedures,” says Pierpaoli. While most robotic surgeries require several small incisions for the camera and multiple robotic arms, advancements in technology are heading toward operating the camera and robotic arms in a single incision, Bonaminio says of the future of robotic surgery. “The future of robotic surgery at Little Company of Mary is quite bright,” he says. Area hospital expands robotic procedures.
For more information on Little Company of Mary’s Regional Robotics Center, please visit, LCMH.org/robotics