Ken Lehmann lived with an inguinal hernia for more than a year until, at his regular checkup last December, his doctor recommended surgery.
“I remember blowing my nose one day and felt a small pop,” the Tinley Park resident said. “My doctor sent me over to Dr. Vasdekas to get checked out for the hernia.”
Dr. Thomas Vasdekas, board-certified general surgeon with the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, confirmed Lehmann had a left inguinal hernia, and recommended robotic-assisted surgery.
An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, like part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when coughing, bending over and heavy lifting. While common, inguinal hernias don’t go away on their own, and smaller hernias grow larger, Dr. Vasdekas explained.
“The advantages with robotic-assisted surgery are that we can make incredibly small incisions to repair the hernia, giving the patient faster recovery time, with less pain,” said Dr. Vasdekas, who has performed more than 1,000 robotic surgeries. “Patients require less pain medication. We’re actually seeing less opioid use with robotic surgeries.”
Robotic hernia surgery requires three incisions, two on either side of the lower abdomen and one through the belly button. The da Vinci robotic system gives surgeons greater dexterity.
Lehmann underwent surgery Jan. 30, and was back to work two days later. He had no pain from his incisions, and only some discomfort from the gas used during surgery.
“All I have are two quarter-inch lines on my stomach,” he said.
Lehmann rides his bicycle 300 miles every month during warmer weather, and works out three times a week. Thanks to robotic surgery he was only off his schedule for a couple of weeks.
“At my two-week checkup Dr. Vasdekas gave me the OK to start working out again. By then I felt like I could do anything.”
For more information, visit www.midwestroboticsurgery.org
Silver Cross Hospital, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox
815-300-1100 or visit www.silvercross.org.