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Next-Gen Surgery

For a growing number of complex prostate, kidney, gynecological, urological and colorectal conditions, da Vinci robotic surgery is becoming the minimally invasive surgery of choice at NCH. Learn more here.

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Robotic-assisted gallbladder surgery at NCH taps tiny incision for less scarring, pain

Pregnancy introduces all sorts of pains and pangs, but when Lindsay started experiencing "morning sickness" at night during her first trimester, she feared the worst. "I had never heard of anyone describing this excruciating pain from 9 pm to 2 am," says the 32-year-old Elgin mom of two.

As it turns out, Lindsay's baby was fine, but mom was battling gallstones—a surprising diagnosis since greasy, fatty foods typically trigger gallstone flare-ups. Lindsay, meanwhile, had recently lost 30 pounds through healthy diet and exercise.

A strict, low-fat diet nursed Lindsay through her remaining trimesters, and she delivered a healthy baby in April 2012. By June, her gallstones had grown in number and size. In September, she found herself a candidate for a new robotic-assisted surgery that would remove her gallbladder through a single, tiny incision at her belly button.

"I questioned the procedure," she says, admitting she was leery of the newness of robotic-guided cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). Northwest Community Heathcare (NCH) is the first hospital in the northwest suburbs to offer Single-Site™ da Vinci® gallbladder removal, a virtually scarless procedure that results in:

  • Minimal pain
  • Low blood loss
  • Fast recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay

Lindsay was won over by the assurances and training of her surgeon, Robert Aki, MD. Dr. Aki is one of a small group of surgeons in the country specially trained in single-site robotic cholecystectomy, which advances the typical three- to five-incision minimally invasive gallbladder surgery to an entirely new level. "The single-site procedure uses advanced robotic technology that is more precise, and the 3-D visualization of the surgical field is superior as compared to the conventional laparoscopic approach," he says.

As for recovery? "I was up and down more easily than with my C-section," Lindsay says. She is also back to her fitness regimen without fear of painful gallstone attacks. "Women can develop the problem when they lose a significant amount of weight," she says. "After I delivered, I wanted to lose weight again, but I was afraid to do it. Now I have peace of mind."

Robert Aki, MD

Robert Aki, MD

General Surgery at NCH

  • Medical school: Chicago Medical School
  • Residency and Internship: University of Illinois
  • Board-certified: General Surgery

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Last Updated 04/10/2009