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Saint Elizabeth Performs First Single-Incision Robotic Gallbladder Removal in Nebraska

May 07 2012

LINCOLN, NEB – Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in Nebraska to perform a single-incision gallbladder removal using the latest technology available, the new Single-Site™ Instrumentation for the da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System. Saint Elizabeth is among the first 70 facilities in the nation to use this technology that was approved by the FDA in December of 2011.

General Surgeon Greg Fitzke, MD, and the Saint Elizabeth surgical team performed two of these minimally invasive procedures last week where robotic-assisted surgery allowed for a single-incision through the belly button. Only 120 surgeons in the United States have completed specialized training and education to perform these procedures.

During the minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon controls every movement of the robot while viewing a magnified, high-resolution 3D image of the surgical site on a console. Surgeons can safely remove the gallbladder through the belly button in a single incision of approximately one inch.

The new procedure offers patients minimal scarring, less bleeding, quicker recovery time and a shorter stay in the hospital. “I believe the da Vinci robotic platform adds improved precision to single-incision gallbladder surgery. Each patient must be individualized, but I’m excited to have this technology available at Saint Elizabeth as an option to my patients,” says Dr. Fitzke.

At Saint Elizabeth, the da Vinci robot is utilized for various types of procedures including gynecology, urology and advanced laparoscopic general surgeries. “Using a surgical robot is the future of minimally invasive surgery and we feel privileged to offer this option to our patients,” says Nancy Gondringer, director of surgical services at Saint Elizabeth.


Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, founded more than 120 years ago, is a full-service, 260-bed nonprofit regional medical center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Saint Elizabeth has been selected as a Top 100 Hospital® in the nation by Thomson Reuters five times and has been recognized as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing since 2004. Saint Elizabeth received their most recent award from The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award recognizes the commitment to a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 76 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual revenues of more than $10.5 billion, CHI is the nation's second-largest Catholic health care system.

Catholic Health Initiatives organizations in Nebraska include Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, HealthConnect at Home serving Lincoln, Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska Heart Hospital and Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, St. Mary’s Community Hospital in Nebraska City and The Physician Network. Through its hospital facilities and The Physician Network, Catholic Health Initiatives in Nebraska provides full-service inpatient, outpatient and behavioral health care along with primary care and specialty physician services.

In the spirit of its founders, the ministries of CHI Nebraska provide not only medical care, but are community partners. Called by shared core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence, these organizations devote funding and resources to programs and services that benefit the health of the greater community.