Gynecologists across the country who want to specialize in state-of-the-art robotic surgery will soon observe cases at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH). Michelle Luthringshausen, MD, gynecological surgeon at NCH, has been designated a robotic surgical trainer by Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System. With the designation, NCH has also been named as a Robotic Epicenter – an exemplary teaching center for robotic surgeons and surgical teams.
Dr. Luthringshausen has performed more than 200 robotic surgeries in the past four years, and will lead the advanced training center at NCH this fall. As the nation's fourth female Epicenter surgeon, Dr. Luthringshausen focuses on benign gynecologic surgery, making the new Epicenter the first of its kind in the tri-state area of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
"We have an outstanding robotic surgical team at Northwest Community Hospital, and it's an honor to receive this extraordinary opportunity," says Dr. Luthringshausen, who is highly experienced in the role of mentor or teacher. She also serves as assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
Starting in mid-September, individual doctors and entire surgical teams from around the United States will visit NCH on a regular basis to observe Dr. Luthringshausen and the NCH robotic surgical team perform sophisticated, minimally invasive procedures. The visitors will see firsthand how surgical techniques are applied using the da Vinci robot, as well as how the operating room is outfitted to optimize efficiency.
The interest of gynecologic surgeons in the use of da Vinci for both traditional and complicated gynecology cases is on the rise in the last year, as evidenced by the growing number of surgeons enrolled in the Intuitive Surgical training program. As one of 22 gynecology Epicenters in the country, NCH will gain exposure and continue to grow as a referral center for complex gynecology cases such as endometriosis, myomectomy, and more challenging hysterectomy surgical procedures.
Overall, NCH conducts more than 200 robotic surgeries a year for a multitude of complex procedures in gynecology, urology and colorectal surgery. The Hospital first acquired the da Vinci system five years ago and recently upgraded to the da Vinci Si™ Surgical System in January – the most advanced robotic technology available. Less pain, greater precision and faster recoveries have always been trademarks of a da Vinci surgery. Patients experience lower complication rates and shorter hospital stays as compared to conventional surgery.
"Our experienced da Vinci team is highly efficient at what they do, and I'm proud to see that level of care right here at Northwest Community Hospital," says Meaghan Reshoft, executive director of Surgical Services. "It's an all-around honor to have our robotic program recognized as a model for other institutions to follow."
Medical staff interested in observing cases or being trained to perform da Vinci surgeries at NCH should contact Dr. Luthringshausen at 847.221.4400.