Northwest Community Hospital First Hospital in the Northwest Suburbs to Offer Single Incision Surgery Using Robotic Technology

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Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) has taken minimally-invasive surgery to the next level. The Arlington Heights hospital is the first in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to remove a gallbladder through a tiny incision at the belly button using robotic technology and leaving patients virtually free of scars. This new surgical approach is a significant advancement in how surgeries will be performed in the future and the role of robotic technology in the operating room.

Among a small group of specially trained surgeons in the country is Robert Aki, MD, who performed the area’s first da Vinci® Single-Site™ cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) at NCH on May 15. The minimally invasive procedure is traditionally called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, however, Dr. Aki is using robotic assistance to remove the gallbladder through an incision of approximately one inch.

“The Single-Site procedure uses advanced robotic technology that is more precise, and the 3D visualization of the surgical field is superior as compared to the conventional laparoscopic approach,” Dr. Aki said as he explained the technically advanced procedure.

During the procedure, the surgeon sits comfortably at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. In real-time, the system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.

Patients who have their gallbladder removed with the assistance of the da Vinci robot experience both medical and cosmetic benefits. Patients have less scarring and experience potentially shorter recovery times, with many patients able to go home the very same day.

Dr. Aki adds that most people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic, single-incision surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders.

At NCH, surgeons perform various types of robotic-assisted surgeries in addition to gallbladder removal, including surgical procedures for gynecological, prostate, kidney, urological and colorectal conditions. Intuitive Surgical – the maker of the da Vinci system – has designated NCH a da Vinci robotic training center, teaching surgical excellence to surgeons nationwide. In fact, NCH is one of only twenty-two centers in the United States and is the very first gynecological center in the tri-state area of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

For more information on robotic surgeries at Northwest Community Hospital, visit

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