The pandemic inspired this surgical innovation

The pandemic inspired this surgical innovation

Wrestling to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough. However, fueled by the need to socially distance, the Surgery team at the Advocate South Suburban Hospital Center for Advanced Care, in Hazel Crest, Ill., recently found a silver lining by reimagining partial nephrectomy –  the abdominal surgery needed to remove renal tumors.

“We developed a way to offer partial nephrectomy on an outpatient basis, eliminating the need for the 2-night hospital stay this procedure traditionally requires for recovery,” said Dr. Ajit Kumar, an anesthesiologist.

Since the initial surge of COVID-19 cases, a significant number of patients have postponed much-needed surgical care because they feared spending two nights in the hospital to recover. To give these patients peace of mind, Dr. Kumar and Dr. Arpeet Shah, who specializes in urology, teamed up to find a solution.

“Medical research shows that getting the patient home, when it’s safe, gives them a better place to recover than a hospital bed. And, since no one wants to stay in the hospital any longer than necessary, especially in these times of COVID, we started asking ‘Why can’t we get more of our surgery patients home the same day?”  Dr. Shah said.

Since the initial surge of COVID-19 cases, a significant number of patients have postponed much-needed surgical care because they feared spending two nights in the hospital to recover. To give these patients peace of mind, Dr. Arpeet Shah, who specializes in urology,  and Dr. Ajit Kumar, an anesthesiologist, teamed up to find a solution.

“Medical research shows that getting the patient home, when it’s safe, gives them a better place to recover than a hospital bed. And, since no one wants to stay in the hospital any longer than necessary, especially in these times of COVID, we started asking ‘Why can’t we get more of our surgery patients home the same day?” Dr. Shah said.

Dr. Shah and Dr. Kumar arrived at an innovative solution by combing the latest robotic surgery techniques with advances in pain management. With the aid of robotic technology, Dr. Shah makes 4 to 5 small incisions about the size of a paper cut to remove any masses.  But first, Dr. Kumar injects a local anesthetic into abdominal muscles to numb the area. This pre-operative injection typically reduces the need to use narcotics during and after surgery to control pain. General anesthesia is still necessary for this procedure.

“The avoidance of narcotics certainly helps with faster recovery,” Dr. Kumar said, explaining that patients can skip the nausea and longer wake-up time associated with narcotic-based anesthesia. And, “when the patients are leaving the hospital, they’re leaving with almost no pain.”

In addition to outpatient renal surgeries, Advocate South Suburban Hospital patients are undergoing total joint replacement, hysterectomy and prostate surgeries as outpatients. To determine whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive outpatient, surgery, speak with your primary care physician.

Are you trying to find a doctor? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

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About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.