Date: 8/1/2006

Community Healthcare System offers minimally invasive state-of-the-art technology for prostate surgery

MUNSTER — Urologists and general surgeons at Community Hospital will be among an elite group of physicians using a new robotic surgical system in place at only about 250 hospitals nationwide. Community Hospital will be the only hospital in Northwest Indiana and one of three in the state to offer this new technology to be used initially for prostate cancer surgery.

The $1.5 million da Vinci® Surgical System will enable surgeons to perform less invasive surgery with greater accuracy and fewer complications, including less pain and blood loss and a quicker recovery. Early clinical studies of the da Vinci system have shown that the enhanced dexterity achieved during a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy results in a lower incidence of impotence and incontinence.

In addition to prostate cancer surgery, the new robotic system will also assist with intricate laparoscopic procedures involving the bowel, colon and stomach. It may also be used to assist with gynecologic laparoscopic procedures.

“The investment in the area’s first robotic surgical system is yet another example of our commitment to bring the latest advances in medicine to our healthcare system,” said John Gorski, Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations for the Community Healthcare System, which includes Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago; and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. “Within our hospitals today we have technology that is available in only a small percentage of hospitals around the nation, including the new robotic surgical system, CyberKnife radiation system for cancer treatment, and digital mammography.”

“The addition of the new robotic surgical system further strengthens our cancer treatment capabilities here at Community Hospital and within the Community Healthcare System,” said Donald Fesko, Administrator of Community Hospital. “Community Hospital will be one of the few places in America where this technology is being used, giving our resident access to procedures that may provide a higher quality of life for patients.”

A laparoscopic prostatectomy is a less invasive method of removing the prostate gland for the treatment of prostate cancer. In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several tiny incisions in the belly and uses special instruments to remove the prostate gland. The goal of the surgery is to remove all of the cancer, which can mean also removing tissues that surround the prostate and sensitive nerves to the penis.

Major drawbacks of a conventional laparoscopy are that the physician must stand over the patient, relying on visualization provided by a two-dimensional monitor, and use long, hand-held instruments with no flexible wrist action.

“In comparison, the robotic arms of the da Vinci surgical system-with technology called EndoWrist -provide a full-range of motion that resembles human hands, providing the surgeon with pinpoint accuracy. This means a less invasive procedure with less blood loss, less pain after surgery, and, a faster recovery time for patients,” said Hassan Alsheik, M.D., a Community Hospital urologist who will be among the first to use the new robotic system

The da Vinci surgical system also provides the physician with better visibility through a three-dimensional lens system that magnifies the surgical field up to 15 times. Da Vinci’s 3-D high resolution, stereo monitor is designed to allow the physician to be seated while viewing the target anatomy.

“The da Vinci system is a tool that makes a good procedure better. The robot allows for precise movement, eliminating any surgical tremor, and offers the physician multiple degrees of freedom far beyond laparoscopic surgery,” said Mark Dabagia, M.D., a Community Hospital urologist who will be among the first to use the new robotic system.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the da Vinci surgical system for a wide-range of procedures including other urologic applications, such as total or partial kidney removal, general surgery — gall bladder removal, and several cardiac and thoracic applications including thymectomy.

“Robotics enable the surgeon to perform numerous other procedures with minute precision — colon resection and bowel surgery, myomectomy (removal of fibroids of the uterus), reversal of tubal ligation and mitral valve repair — once thought to be unattainable using conventional methods,” said M. Nabil Shabeeb, Community Hospital Medical Director of Robotic Surgery who will be among the first to use the new robotic system. “The use of robots in the operating room, with their multi-ranged motion and maneuverability, strengthens and enhances Community Hospital’s ongoing commitment to provide patients with the best medical care possible.”

For more information on Community Healthcare System urologists and general surgeons who offer the new da Vinci Surgical System, call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 1-866-836-3477 or visit

For more information about the da Vinci Surgical System, including an informational video, please visit: