Russ's Story

When a routine colonoscopy revealed a cancerous mass in Russ’s body, he was unsure what to expect. “I was very nervous when I heard something was found,” recalled Russ, a Mayer resident. “It was very hard on me but even harder on my wife.” Soon after his cancer diagnosis, Russ and his wife met with Todd Elftmann, MD, Lakeview Clinic. “He explained the different options for removing the mass, but he highly recommended robot-assisted surgery,” Russ remembered.

Introduced to Ridgeview in 2011, the da Vinci® surgical system is used by specially trained surgeons as a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery.

The da Vinci system is equipped with robotic arms that make it possible to access hard-to-reach places and allows surgeons to make only a handful of tiny incisions. The da Vinci system also offers better precision and control for the surgeon and smaller scars for the patient.

Dr. Elftmann explained that recovery times are faster and easier for patients undergoing surgeries with da Vinci; in some cases, recovery time is reduced by half. “Our patients are feeling a lot better, a lot sooner and are experiencing shorter hospital stays than with traditional surgery,” Dr. Elftmann said.

Russ was optimistic from the beginning. “I did my research and knew the robot-assisted surgery was my best chance for a surgical cure, and I was very hopeful for a quick recovery,” Russ said.

The day after his procedure, Russ was doing so well that he was able to go home. “Dr. Elftmann told us they were able to remove all of the cancer and I that didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation,” Russ exclaimed. “We are so thankful to Dr. Elftmann and his team for the expert care I received.”

Trained Ridgeview surgeons use the da Vinci system for 18 gynecological and urological surgical procedures, and Dr. Elftmann recommends da Vinci whenever possible. “Minimally invasive surgery is the best option for patients, and we can deliver that technology right here at our local hospital,” Dr. Elftmann said.

Ridgeview Foundation has launched a campaign to purchase a new version of the da Vinci system, as Ridgeview’s current model is being phased out and will no longer be supported. “If we don’t purchase the newest device, robotic surgeries will no longer be an option for our patients,” Dr. Elftmann explained.

The latest version of da Vinci is equipped with cutting-edge technology that allows surgeons to perform additional procedures, while offering advancements for optimal results.

By contributing to the da Vinci campaign, donors will help Ridgeview stay on the forefront of robot-assisted medical technology and patient care. Let’s work together to create more great cancer-free outcomes for local residents like Russ.

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