How CyberKnife saves lives

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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One Comment

  1. I just would like to say that Dr. Ruge is the best! Tomorrow is our son Michael’s 18th anniversary of his surgery to remove his brain tumor when he was 13 in eighth grade. Although Dr. Ruge was not the surgeon who removed the tumor, we followed up for many years later with him, who had to insert two shunts, and also Dr. Goodell who was Michael’s oncologist at Lutheran General. Without their help, we would not have made it through this terrible ordeal. We also made many friends through a great support group moderated by Denise Fleig and that night actually became our mother/son date night with dinner on Mom!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.