Jessica’s Story

Woman with child

As a licensed practical nurse, Jessica Hill tends not to dismiss her symptoms as “nothing.” Concerned with a nagging pain on her upper right side becoming more intense, Jessica visited a local hospital.

“I went to an ER at a hospital by my house complaining of abdominal pain and was told I had a urinary tract infection. I was prescribed antibiotics, even though I told my caregivers there I suspected a gallbladder attack,” Jessica remembers.

When she arrived at work the next day, pale, tired and still in pain, the physician Jessica works with, Fred Tiesenga, MD, ordered a hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan, an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. The HIDA scan confirmed gallbladder attack. A few hours later, Jessica was having robotic surgery to remove her gallbladder at West Suburban Medical Center, where Dr. Tiesenga is the Medical Director of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery.

“Although, I knew the pain was coming from my gallbladder, but I was still surprised when I heard I had to have it removed,” Jessica says. “I had never experienced any problems with my gallbladder before, never had gallstones or anything to hint at a problem until the pain started that day.”

Dr. Tiesenga performed the surgery using West Suburban’s state-of-the-art da Vinci® system, a robotic technology that translates surgeon’s hands movement into very precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. Dr. Tiesenga used a single-site incision technique, allowing for minimal scarring and a shorter recovery time when compared to traditional surgery. Jessica was in and out of the hospital in 10 hours.

“We were very pleased with the outcome of Jessica’s surgery,” Dr. Tiesenga says. “Jessica had cosmetic concerns, so we were excited to be able to offer single-site incision approach, where scarring truly is minimal. Our patients really benefit from its precision and accuracy.”

Jessica agrees and couldn’t be happier with the results.

“The incision was so neatly made in my belly button that in a few months when it heals completely, you probably won’t even be able to see it, which is nice since I’m still relatively young and I like to wear a two-piece swimsuit,” she says. “It’s nice to know I don’t have to feel self-conscious.”

West Suburban Medical Center is one of only two Epicenters for Robotic General Surgery in Illinois and it has performed more than 400 single-site robotic surgeries since the hospital began using the technology in September 2012. The epicenter distinction is given by Intuitive Surgical, the company that first introduced and manufactures the da Vinci® system. “Dr. Tiesenga and all the nurses and staff at West Suburban were very professional, very attentive and answered all my questions,” Jessica says. “Everyone was so very courteous.”