Vera Boyland had a hiatal hernia for nearly a decade before it started bothering her. Boyland couldn’t keep food down, vomited blood and experiencing chest pains that brought her to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. A CT Scan showed Boyland’s hiatal hernia had grown larger than a softball, sitting behind her heart making a kink in her esophagus. If not repaired, it could cut off the blood supply.
A hiatal hernia is the upper stomach pushing through the diaphragm and up into the chest, allowing food and acid to back up into the esophagus, leading to heartburn and difficulty swallowing.
“Some people are born with hiatal hernias or they can happen over time, especially from pregnancy, obesity, coughing or straining,” said Dr. Venkata Kakarla, general surgeon with The Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross. “Most deal with symptoms like heartburn or reflux with over-the-counter medication. They don’t experience major symptoms like chest pain or difficulty swallowing until the hernia becomes so large that surgery is needed.”
On Feb. 22 Dr. Kakarla repaired Boyland’s hiatal hernia using Silver Cross’s newest daVinci robot – the XI®.
“The potential benefits of robotic surgery for patients are many, including reduced pain, minimal blood loss and lower risk of complications, as well as a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery,” said Dr. Kakarla.
“I thought I was going to be all cut up,” said the 73-year-old Joliet woman. “I like that there were only few small incisions which left just minor bruising.”
“A couple of weeks after surgery, Boyland’s esophagus was healing nicely and she was able to tolerate diet without issues” added Dr. Kakarla. “Her chest pain and reflux are gone.”
Join Dr. Kakarla for a free Robotic Surgery Benefits program at 6:30 p.m. April 20 in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Pre-register at www.midwestroboticsurgery.org.