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Russell Milligan


Surgeon Performs Robotic Single-incision Hysterectomy at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center

Dr Mercado

Chicago, Ill. – January 27, 2014 – When a hysterectomy is necessary, women have a new option at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC). Patients may be candidates for single-incision robotic surgery to remove the uterus, and, in some cases, the ovaries and Fallopian tubes.

To date, Alvaro Mercado, MD (photo at right), board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, has performed several single-incision hysterectomies at PSMEMC with good outcomes. This fall, PSMEMC began offering robotic surgery for various gynecological and urological conditions using the da Vinci Surgical System.

The benefits of robotic surgery are faster recovery, less pain, smaller incisions, barely visible scars, less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay.

PSMEMC recently acquired the surgical system – which gives surgeons an incredibly close-up 3-D view inside the body – magnified 10 times. Designed to expand a surgeon's capabilities, the system translates hand actions into precise micro-movements of specialized instruments. Using the system, surgeons can perform complex, delicate procedures through tiny incisions in hard-to-reach areas.

During the hysterectomy, Dr. Mercado makes a three-centimeter incision in the belly button, and inserts the camera and robotic arms. He sits at a console next to the robot and controls the robotic arms with his hands. The surgeon removes the organs and content through the vagina or the belly button. The minimally invasive hysterectomy takes about two hours and patients may leave the hospital within one day.

“With robotic surgery you have 3-D visuals and the robot has 360-degree motion – it is super human,” said Dr. Mercado, who has performed robotic surgery for six years and also serves as an instructor on the surgical system. “Some robotic movements are better than the hands.

“Recovery time is faster – patients can go to work in one to four weeks as opposed to six weeks with laparoscopic or open cases,” said Dr. Mercado, who joined PSMEMC medical staff in 1989. “Pain is 80-percent lower because there is less trauma inside the abdomen and less blood loss.”

Hysterectomies also can be performed through laparoscopic surgery in which the surgeon makes multiple small incisions and inserts instruments to perform the procedure, or an open procedure in which the surgeon makes a large abdominal incision.

Last November, Dr. Mercado performed the first single-incision robotic surgery at PSMEMC to remove a patient’s fibroid tumors. PSMEMC also offers robotic surgery for colon, prostate or kidney cancer and gallbladder issues. PSMEMC has five surgeons trained and credentialed to perform robotic surgery. 

For more information, visit or call 877-737-INFO (4636).

About Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC) is a premier medical center on Chicago's near northwest side and includes the Saint Mary Campus, 2233 W. Division St., and Saint Elizabeth Campus, 1431 N. Claremont Ave. The Saint Mary Campus is certified as a Primary Stroke Center and accredited as a Chest Pain Center. The hospital specializes in cardiac care, digestive diseases, emergency services, neuroscience services, obstetrics, primary care, behavioral health and wound healing. PSMEMC ranks No. 18 in the 2013-14 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" in the Chicago metro area. Visit our website at

About Presence Health
PSMEMC is part of Presence Health, the largest Catholic health system based in Illinois, created in November 2011 through the merger of Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care. With over 150 sites of care, including 12 hospitals, Presence Health has 22,000 employees, 4,000 medical professionals and a revenue base of nearly $3 billion. Visit to learn more.


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