AURORA, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 1, 2014) - The gallbladder is an organ that stores digestive fluids to break down fats. Gallbladder disease -- inflammation, infection or blockage -- is a common yet painful disorder which can be treated with lifestyle changes, with medication, or surgical removal. Those are the clinical facts, but to St. Charles resident, Ronald McMillan, gallbladder disease was disruptive to his lifestyle. After a few painful, debilitating attacks, he followed the advice of his wife, Debbie and his family physician that surgical removal was the best treatment option.
With his wife's support and encouragement he met his surgeon, Dr. Michael Sherrow, a member of the Presence Mercy medical staff and part of Dreyer Medical Clinic in Aurora. He learned about a procedure using robotic instrumentation that would be performed as an outpatient at Presence Mercy and enable him to leave the hospital the same day. Fortunately, now surgeons at Presence Mercy use a new, minimally invasive robotic technique called Single-Site™ da Vinci® gallbladder surgery which requires only a tiny incision. This single incision can be made through the belly button and usually provides for a quicker recovery with less bleeding and virtually no scarring. Most patients, like Ronald, go home the same day. Little did he know in advance that his procedure was to be the 200th robotic surgery at Presence Mercy.
According to the 62 year old, he had some normal anxiety about surgery but the appeal of only a small incision which meant less risk of infection and a faster return to normalcy helped him make the decision.
McMillan had undergone abdominal surgery years ago, and even though it was an outpatient procedure, when he tried to return to his desk job he had to return home for a few more days to recuperate due to pain.
In contrast, McMillan said, "If a buddy asked my opinion of this procedure, I'd tell him that within a week I was walking the track at the gym, lifting some light weights, and compared to suffering the painful gallbladder attacks I would do it again in a minute!"
"It didn't hurt to know that Dr. Sherrow not only performs the robotic surgery but also helps train other surgeons on the instrumentation," McMillan added.
In November 2012, Presence Mercy launched use of the latest da Vinci robotic suite of instruments with three credentialed surgeons. The miniature instrumentation allows surgeons to utilize their surgical skills with precise accuracy through tiny incisions. Surgeons manipulate robotic arms and miniaturized instruments and cameras that offer a higher level of flexibility and range of motion during surgical procedures. Robotics-trained surgeons can treat issues relating to gynecology, urology, gallbladder, general surgery and colorectal surgery. Currently twelve Presence Mercy surgeons have completed extensive clinical training and peer proctoring in robotic techniques to gain credentials and advise patients on their candidacy for robotic surgery.
"We are determined to offer surgical diversity and expertise involving robotic applications to appropriate patients at Presence Mercy," said Dr. Jonathan Song, gynecologist and medical director for the da Vinci surgical program at the Aurora hospital since inception.
He noted that the wide range of minimally invasive techniques not only sets the hospital apart from traditional surgical programs but from most robotic platforms in the Western suburbs. "Patients are able to plan for a faster recovery with fewer complications and less need for pain medication," he explained.
Presence Mercy performed the first single site gallbladder surgery in Kane County in April, 2013. In March, 2014 Dr. Sherrow performed the 200th robotic surgery, which happened to be the 63rd single- site surgery at the hospital. The removal of a gallbladder through an almost invisible tiny incision in the belly button is obviously patient- preferred over four small incisions in normal robotic surgery and a major incision with scarring in traditional surgery.
"Clinically most advantageous for my patients is the quicker recovery time at home with less pain and bleeding and a lower risk of infection," according to Dr. Sherrow, "however, most of my patients are young and active at work and life so this advanced technology allows them to spend less time in the hospital, provides a more pleasing cosmetic result and a quicker return to normal activities," he noted.
Dr. Sherrow has been performing robotic procedures for more than two years and serves as a peer proctor to assist other surgeons who are gaining proficiency in robotic techniques. "Surgical expertise and skill is first and foremost," he explained, "and the robotic technology is simply an assist in enhancing outcomes for our patients."
The da Vinci technology is an example of Presence Mercy's commitment to safeguarding the health and wellness of patients and the community at large by providing advanced care options. Presence Mercy offers the latest robotic protocol that allows the single site option in our area. To find a doctor who is trained in minimally invasive surgical techniques call 1-877-737-4636 or visit http://presencehealth.org/mercy-robotics