How CyberKnife saves lives
Ethel Wentink’s recurring toothache turned out to be something far more serious than a dental problem.
Suspicious the tooth pain was something more than a dental problem, physicians ordered an MRI for the 64-year-old former Catholic school teacher.
The scan revealed that Wentink had a brain tumor. Thankfully, the tumor was benign but still needed to be removed. Left untreated, the condition could have led to a life-threatening stroke.
Wentink’s doctors recommended CyberKnife treatment as the best option for her. This treatment uses a robotic surgery system that delivers highly targeted beams of radiation to destroy tumors with minimal, if any, impact to surrounding tissue. It’s most commonly used to treat benign tumors, malignant tumors and other medical conditions.
The procedure involves no knives or scalpels. Instead, CyberKnife uses a combination of CT imaging and computer-controlled robotics to deliver precise treatment with no incision, no blood loss and no pain.
“Without this treatment the tumor would grow and cause an increase of pain and neurologic problems, including stroke and facial weakness,” said Dr. John Ruge, neurological surgeon at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “In Ethel’s case it was suggested by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons that the CyberKnife treatment be used instead of surgery.”
Wentink was so grateful for her care at Lutheran General Hospital, she decided to enroll to become a volunteer at the hospital. To date she has completed over 300 volunteer hours in less than a year.
Wentink views her brain tumor as “the tumor that was a blessing” getting her out of the house, meeting new people and making new friends.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.