Rapid recovery through robotics

Sarah Consiglio, RN, BSN, is in the operating room at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital before the sun comes up. As the scrub nurse for the day’s first surgery, she prepping the room and sterilizing equipment.

She then turns her attention to the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. This state-of-the-art surgical robotic system that will allow surgeons to perform less invasive, more precise operations—resulting in less pain, scarring and reduced risk of infection, as well as faster recovery time for our patients.

She is soon joined by the anesthesiologist, a circulating nurse and the surgeon’s first assist. This morning’s patient is having a tumor removed from his colon.

Surgeon David Ondrula, MD, FACS, FASCRS, takes his seat behind the robot’s console after making small incisions in the patient’s abdomen. Screens around the operating room light up with a clear picture of the patient’s colon, and Dr. Ondrula has a three-dimensional view of the patient’s tumor.

The images provide unimaginable depth and clarity to fully remove the tumor. It only takes a little more than two hours for Dr. Ondrula to completely remove the tumor—which is fairly quick if you are on OR time.

“There is definitely a learning curve,” Sarah says. “When I began scrubbing in on robotic surgeries at Good Shepherd Hospital more than ten years ago, these surgeries would take nearly twelve hours. Now, we can do two surgeries in that time.”

Over the last 15 years, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital has acquired three robots and certified 17 surgeons to operate them.

In the last 18 months alone, Dr. Ondrula has performed more than 150 colorectal surgeries using the robot–the most of any physician in the Midwest. The national average stay for a patient after this surgery is six days, while Dr. Ondrula’s average patient stay is just three days. He is currently among the top 20 busiest surgeons in the country.

“I can’t express enough gratitude for bringing the XI robot to Good Shepherd Hospital. The feedback my patients is overwhelming. They are recovering at such an accelerated time frame, and they are truly impressed—as am I,” says Dr. Ondrula. “Without the support of administration and the community, these advances would not have been possible.”