For more than a year, New Lenox resident Jennifer Ujka suffered with severe cramps and excessive bleeding for seven days during her monthly menstrual cycle. Her extreme bleeding eventually caused her to become anemic. In addition, she had incontinence issues.
Fortunately, after discovering the cause of her illnesses, Jennifer found immediate relief after having robotic surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.
“I was miserable. My monthly periods were so painful from the cramping and extreme bleeding. Also, whether I sneezed, coughed or jumped, I would leak urine,” said Ujka, 41.
A sponsored article by Silver Cross Hospital
Knowing her condition was getting worse, Ujka wanted to find a physician who was on staff at the new Silver Cross Hospital. After visiting the hospital’s website, she scheduled an appointment with obstetrician and gynecologist Nahla Merhi, M.D., who is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Silver Cross Hospital.
Dr. Merhi determined that Ujka’s incontinence issues were caused by the fact that her uterine lining was growing into the muscle of her bladder. After undergoing a series of tests to determine if she was a candidate for a bladder lift, Ujka had a hysterectomy and bladder lift using the da Vinci robot surgery system. After her surgery, she stayed overnight at Silver Cross Hospital.
“The Silver Cross nurses were excellent. They were very caring, had a great bedside manner, and were on top of all my needs,” Ujka said.
Advice to Other Patients
“I highly recommend other women who are experiencing the same problems to see Dr. Merhi,” Ujka said. “She is a true advocate for her patients. She is determined to find out what’s going on with your body, so you don’t suffer any more and can have a better life. She makes you feel so comfortable to talk to her about such personal issues. In addition, her staff thoughtfully supported me through my treatment and helped me feel at ease especially dealing with such a self-conscous illness.”
Within a couple of days after her robotic surgery, Ujka was shocked by how good she felt. She was even well enough to go on a short trip.
“I was so amazed how good I felt so soon after having major surgery,” she said. “I followed all of Dr. Merhi’s directions and really didn’t have to take my pain medications for a long time. In fact, the same weekend of my surgery, I was able to slowly walk around and travel out of town to Michigan with my family and friends.”
Previously with traditional open surgery the recovery period for this procedure would have been six to eight weeks.
“I highly recommend anyone needing to have this type of procedure to choose the robotic surgery option because you will have little scars and a quicker recovery,” Ujka said.
How Does It Work?
Controlled by a surgeon from a console, the innovative da Vinci robot is used to make 8mm (1/3 inch) to 12 mm (1/2 inch) incisions. Long, delicate instruments are inserted into the patient that enable specially trained physicians to perform the surgery.
Misconceptions still exist that the robot is actually performing the surgery all by itself.
“The important aspect to understand is that the da Vinci robotic system cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions by itself,” said Dr. Merhi. “The da Vinci System can only operate with direct input from the surgeon.”
The enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control of the da Vinci robot allows physicians to perform an excellent surgery even for women with complex cases.
“Da Vinci surgery offers women many potential benefits over traditional open surgery, including: less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, and low rate of complications,” said Dr. Merhi. “Some patients, like Jennifer, can be back on their feet within a few hours. The benefits are remarkable!”
Free Lecture: Hysterectomy Options
One in three women will face a hysterectomy, but with tiny incisions and great precision they can be back to normal life faster. Join Dr. Nahla Merhi, Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, on Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Silver Cross Hospital, Pavilion A, Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. During this FREE program, Hysterectomy Options, she will discuss the latest surgical options for hysterectomies including robotic surgery. Register to attend at www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).
About Dr. Nahla Merhi
Dr. Nahla Merhi, board certified in obstetrics/gynecology, completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Lutheran Medical Central in New York. Dr. Merhi has special interest in treating urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse as well as training in using the da Vinci Surgical Systems to provide patients quicker and less invasive procedures. To schedule an appointment, call her office at Suburban Gynecology at (815) 717-8727, located at Silver Cross Hospital Pavilion A, Suite 375, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox.