How far would you go to see an expert in da Vinci surgery? If you live in the Northwest suburbs, the answer is: not far. But for April B., suffering from severe pelvic pain, she was happy to drive all the way from the southside of Chicago to see da Vinci? expert and OB/GYN Dr. Michelle Luthringshausen.
April was suffering from heavy bleeding and abdominal pain. Dr. Luthringshausen discovered 25-40 myomas (or fibroids) growing in her uterus. She performed a traditional myomectomy to remove the growths. The open surgery was rough, says April, but it worked. She was pain-free for almost 4 years. Then the myomas grew back, as they usually do.
"Surgery with the da Vinci robotic system is so much different from traditional open surgery," explains Dr. Luthringshausen. "First of all, the visualization you get inside the body is amazing. Everything is magnified. It's almost like you, the surgeon, are shrunk down and standing inside the body, you have such visibility all around you."
"Secondly, the robot gives us this remarkable dexterity - as surgeons we are able to use tiny instruments and perform the most precise, minute procedures - again, as if we were inside the body ourselves. This enables us to do more and yet be less invasive."
"In April's case," Dr. Luthringshausen continues, "I could see so well that I was able to remove the myomas at a deeper level than the first time, to prevent or delay their recurrence. I also discovered when I got in there that April had a lot of endometriosis, which I was able to clean it up right then and there."
"The whole experience was so easy," laughs April. "Everyone at NCH was friendly and helpful."
"With the da Vinci surgery, I had five little incisions and I was up and about at home on the third day. After about a week, I could tuck a pillow under me and sleep like a baby."
Dr. Michelle Luthringshausen is one of the gynecologic surgeons on staff at NCH experienced in robotic surgery. To view a list of other physicians who perform robotic surgery at NCH, click here, or call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968).
Click here to view our list of physicians experienced in robotic surgery or call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968) for a physician referral.