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Is Robotic Surgery Right for You?

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Better than Ever

Robotic surgery helps patients kick cancer to the curb

Kathy Aske had long heard about the stellar reputation of Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) from friends who talked highly about their experiences as patients at the hospital. A home health worker for the past 28 years, Kathy says she was impressed with the level of care NCH nurses and physicians provided for her friends.

But the Mundelein resident never thought she would choose the Arlington Heights hospital over several nearby hospitals for her care. That changed in 2010 after Kathy was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, a cancer that forms in the tissues lining the uterus. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 49,560 women will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the U.S. in 2013.

Kathy decided to turn to NCH for da Vinci robotic surgery. The da Vinci technology is used for a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as gynecological cancers, including endometrial cancer. The robotic surgery enables surgeons to operate with better vision, precision, dexterity and control. The 3-D, high-definition vision system allows surgeons to see key anatomy with clarity.

Kathy did not waste any time in scheduling an appointment with Josh C. Tunca, MD, an independent gynecologic oncology surgeon on staff at NCH, who told Kathy she was a candidate for da Vinci surgery. "I was confident about the plan of treatment," she says.

With da Vinci, patients often have less blood loss, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays than patients who undergo traditional surgery.

Just a few days after the initial appointment with Dr. Tunca, Kathy underwent a hysterectomy and had her lymph nodes and uterus removed through four small incisions using the da Vinci's physician-guided robotic arms. The operation lasted roughly 15 minutes.

Kathy says she was amazed at her smooth recovery. "I went home in two days, and I was blown away by how mobile I was," Kathy recalls. "The recovery time was so much quicker than traditional surgery."

Dr. Tunca says da Vinci patients often are surprised at their quick recovery times and their ease in moving around following surgery. "When we do da Vinci surgeries, most patients can go home the next day versus one week to 10 days with traditional surgery."

Following the surgery, Kathy underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and now has a clean bill of health. She says she would recommend the da Vinci technology because it offers a faster and more comfortable recovery process.

"It was the best move I have ever made," Kathy says. "I felt comfortable with the skill and expertise at NCH. I would tell anybody to go to NCH for da Vinci. Five days after my surgery and I was back to my old self."

Josh C. Tunca, MD
Josh C. Tunca, MD

Josh C. Tunca, MD

Chicago Gynecologic Oncology, SC

  • Board-Certified: Gynecologic Oncology, Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Medical School: Istanbul University, Turkey
  • Internship: New Hanover Regional Medical Center, NC
  • Residency: Wake Forest University
  • Fellowship: Emory University

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Last Updated 04/10/2009