The Robotic Surgery Program at UI Health provides minimally invasive solutions for a number of general surgery services, including endocrine, gastrointestinal, and thoracic surgeries. As one of the most advanced robotic surgery programs in the world, we are recognized for excellence in safety, efficacy, and efficiency in performing minimally invasive surgery, including treating certain cancers, though robotic devices are not yet approved by the FDA for cancer surgery. Our world-renowned experts ensure that every patient receives the best treatment possible, with superior outcomes and shorter hospital stays.
Some of the general surgery procedures performed at UI Health include:
Adrenal Gland Surgery
During robotic adrenalectomy, the adrenal gland can be removed with two different approaches, either through the abdominal cavity or through the back, which has potential for faster recovery and return of bowel function.
Biliary and Gallbladder Surgery
Robotic surgery has revolutionized the removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) and the treatment of biliary diseases, including stone removal, resections, and strictures.
Bladder Cancer Surgery
Bladder cancer begins in the lining of the bladder but can grow into the muscle layer of the organ. Robotic-assisted surgery is used for the both the removal of the bladder and surrounding lymph nodes (radical cystectomy) to treat the cancer and in bladder reconstruction — creating a new bladder or pouch that allows patients to be continent of urine after bladder removal.
Several benign conditions — such as diverticula, inflammatory bowel diseases, and strictures — and cancers might require partial of complete removal of the colon. The high precision of the dissection allows accurate removal of lymph nodes and precise reconstruction of the bowel continuity, in addition to increased capability to recognize and preserve nerves that are involved in sexual activity and urinary function.
Surgical access to the esophagus always is challenging, but flexible robotic instrumentation provides surgeons increased access to tumors in difficult-to-reach areas while avoiding traditional open surgery. For cancer patients, the removal of the lymph nodes and draining the diseased area is extremely important. Robotic surgery offers increased precision, fast recovery, and reduced postoperative pain for these procedures. It also is an effective alternative for benign disease like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and achalasia.
Several types of hernias may occur. In many cases, a minimally invasive repair can be indicated, and a mesh generally is used to close the defect. In many cases, the repair of hernias is fast and safe, with robotic surgery reducing the use of those foreign bodies to fix the mesh, allowing for a strong fixation.
Robotic surgery can be employed to treat different liver diseases that require surgery, including liver cancer, non-cancerous tumors (adenomas and hemangiomas), and resections of the liver, while avoiding bilateral subcostal incision — the large incision that usually goes across the abdomen.
Pancreatic surgery is considered to be among the most challenging type of abdomen procedures, as it usually requires a large incision that cuts all the abdominal wall muscles form one side to the other. The advantages of robotic procedures for pancreatectomies and pancreatic resections are faster recovery, less trauma, fewer wound complications, and, for cancer patients, there is a potential to start chemotherapy treatment earlier than following open surgery.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men. Surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) may be necessary to treat prostate cancer. Robotic-assisted prostatectomy allows for superior surgical vision and preservation the erectile nerves.
Renal Cancer Surgery
Renal cancer (kidney tumors) starts in the lining of the tubules in the kidney and is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. We perform several types of minimally invasive procedures for renal cancer, including nephron-sparing surgery, which removes or ablates tumors while saving the kidney; robotic-assisted full or partial nephrectomy (kidney removal); and vena cava thrombectomy, the removal of kidney tumors causing blood clots.
Small Bowel Surgery
Resection of the small bowel can be necessary to treat different types of cancers or inflammatory bowel diseases. Robotic surgery provides the advantage of smaller incisions and the potential for less adhesions and inflammatory responses inside the abdomen.
The spleen is a solid organ that sits under the ribcage on the left side of the body and plays a role in helping to fight infection and recycling blood cells. Cysts on the spleen can cause acute pain, and sometimes total removal of the spleen (splenectomy) is a common treatment. Several hundred splenectomies are performed each year in the United States to treat cysts or other benign lesions.
Robotic surgery is used to treat for involves treatment for a wide variety of gastric conditions. including cancer and benign diseases. Robotic techniques allow for a precise and less traumatic removal of the organ together with all the lymph nodes that can be potentially involved in a disease.
Testicular Cancer Surgery
Testicular cancer is rare but also the most common cancer in American males ages 15-34. If he cancer spreads to the lymph nodes of the abdomen, removal of the lymph nodes in the abdomen (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection) may be necessary.
The first robot-assisted surgery done in the head and neck, robotic thyroidectomy eliminates scarring on the neck scar by accessing the thyroid gland through an incision under the arm, called an axillary approach. That incision is hidden, not front and center like neck scars from most thyroid surgeries.
With robotic techniques for vascular surgeries — such as visceral aneurysm resection with reconstruction, and vascular bypass — it is possible to intervene on vessels using small incisions with enhanced precision and accuracy. For some diseases, it is possible to repair defects of vessels that otherwise would require the complete removal of the organ or permanent closure of the vessel involved.