Surgical Services

Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago offers the latest surgical treatments in a compassionate, comforting environment. The helpful surgery team on staff ensures that you and your family get easy-to-understand information on your procedure and that all of your questions are answered. We offer minimally invasive alternatives to traditional procedures, such as hip replacement, heart surgery and more, as well as robotic surgery.

Swedish Covenant Hospital utilizes the third generation da Vinci Si HD robotic surgery system in a variety of surgeries to help our patients heal faster. The use of the da Vinci Si has launched a new Robotics Surgery program at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The da Vinci Si HD robot translates the surgeon's natural hand motions into precise movements of small instruments positioned inside the patient's body.

Patient Benefits
The term “single site” is often referenced in conjunction with robotic surgery since doctors may be able to enter and perform the surgeries through a single incision. The robotic technology allows surgeons to guide flexible instruments through the incision using a remote camera, resulting in a singular (or very few), smaller, more precise incision. This results in better outcomes for patients through reductions in trauma, blood loss, risk of infection, post-operative pain and average length of stay. It is the safest, most effective surgical treatment option available to surgical patients and has the added cosmetic benefit of avoiding unseemly scarring.

Surgical Procedures
The da Vinci Si HD Surgical System can be used in a wide variety of surgical procedures, including:

• Cystectomy: A procedure to remove all or part of the urinary bladder, often used to treat bladder cancer.
• Gastrectomy: A procedure to remove all or part of the stomach. This is often used to remove pre-cancerous and cancerous tumors and treat inflammation and bleeding.
• Heller myotomy: An operation on the lower esophagus which allows food and liquids to reach the stomach. This is often used to treat a disorder of the esophagus called achalasia.
• Hiatal hernia surgery: In severe cases of hiatal hernia, when the stomach bulges through the diaphram, robotic surgery can be used to pull the stomach back into place. 
• Hysterectomy, myomectomy and sacrocolpopexy: Gynecological surgeries used to treat uterine disorders and pain, as well as vaginal or uterine prolapses.
• Low anterior resection: A procedure used to treat rectal cancer or similar conditions.
• Partial and full nephrectomy: A procedure to remove of all or part of a kidney.
• Radical prostatectomy: A procedure to remove the prostate gland and some of the tissue around it. This is often used to treat prostate cancer.
• Splenectomy: A procedure to remove all or part of the spleen. This is often necessary with different diseases.
• Thyroidectomy: A procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland, often to treat or prevent thyroid cancer.
• Ureteral reimplantation: A procedure to treat abnormalities in the urinary system.
General and Colo/Rectal Robotic Surgery

Swedish Covenant Hospital's Robotic Surgery Program provides a wide range of robotically-assisted surgical offering for general surgery patients, as well as those experiencing colon or rectal conditions, including cancer.

The majority of colo/rectal surgeries in the U.S. are performed through a large, open abdominal incision which may extend from the sternum to the pubic bone. Following these procedures, patients often experience pain, increased risk of infection and a long hospital stay, due to the size of the incision.  
At Swedish Covenant Hospital, our surgeons can perform equally effective, and more precise colon and rectal surgeries, while using da Vinci surgical technology to minimize the incision size, decrease pain, shorten hospital stays and decrease risk for infection.
To schedule an appointment with any of the experienced physicians on staff using the Da Vinci Si robotic surgery system, please call (773) 878-6888. To request more information or to be contacted by a representative from our Call Center, please e-mail

Faced with the prospect of surgery, many people feel anxious and afraid. They worry about anesthesia, they dread pain, they fear the unknown and loss of control. While some anxiety is normal, patients need to know that surgery is safer than ever due to advances in anesthesia, minimally invasive procedures and pain-control techniques. H. Clark Federer, MD, a surgeon on staff at Swedish Covenant Hospital, offers his advice.

Q: What can people do before surgery to feel less anxious?
The patient needs to trust the physicians, and communication is the key to trust. The best thing you can do is to sit down with your surgeon prepared with a list of questions and concerns. Give a great deal of thought beforehand to what you want and need to know, and then ask everything.

Q: How safe is anesthesia?
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, complications from anesthesiology have declined dramatically over the past 25 years. In the last decade, the number of anesthesia-related deaths has decreased from one in 10,000 to one in 250,000. You are far more likely to be struck by lightning.

The advent of the pulse oxygenation monitor, which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood, was a huge advance in safety. Now, if a patient's blood oxygen level drops, we know it immediately and can deal with it on the spot. Anesthesiologists at Swedish Covenant Hospital use new brain wave technology to monitor the depth of anesthesia. This can be reassuring to patients who are afraid they'll get too much - or not enough - anesthesia.

Q: What can be done to minimize pain?
There will always be some pain after surgery. But many of the new minimally invasive surgeries result in less pain due to smaller incisions and new pain management techniques that use local anesthesia along with general anesthesia. We put a long-acting local anesthetic agent directly into the wound, which numbs the area and kills pain for several hours, and reduces the need for narcotics. Narcotics tend to cause nausea, vomiting and constipation, since they effectively put the bowels to sleep, so the less we use, the better. 

For example, people often complain of shoulder pain after abdominal surgery. This is actually referred pain from the diaphragm, which has been pressed by the carbon dioxide we use to inflate the abdomen. By injecting local anesthesia into the abdomen, shoulder pain is greatly reduced.

Q: What about complications after surgery?
After surgery, it's very important to get up and moving as soon as possible. The less pain you're in, the more you are willing to move, and the more you move, the less apt you are to develop pneumonia or other complications. 

In the vast majority of cases, the benefits of having surgery far outweigh the risks. People often tell me that the surgery was smoother and less painful than they had anticipated. They'll say, "I'm so glad I finally did this. Why did I put it off for so long?"
H. Clark Federer, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He received his medical degree from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency training at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago and is a member of Swedish Covenant Hospital's medical staff.

To reach Dr. Federer or any other Swedish Covenant Hospital physician, call Physician Referral at (773) 878-6888. 

To find a physician at Swedish Covenant Hospital, visit Find a Physician >
Questions to Ask Your Physician Before Surgery

Surgery can be an intimidating, confusing experience – but it doesn't have to be. Just remember to ask questions about your surgery so you know what to expect on the day of the procedure and throughout your recovery. Questions you may want to ask include:

• Does my insurance company need to approve my stay by the time I am admitted?
• Will hospitalization be necessary? If so, for how long?
• How will the surgery improve my health or quality of life?
• Are there any alternative forms of treatment or less-invasive procedures available?
• When I go home, what kind of assistance will I need with my daily activities?
• Do I need check-ups or other follow-up care, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or home health services?

Remember, the best person to answer these questions is your doctor and your healthcare team, and they're happy to help. So if you have a question, just ask.

To find a physician at Swedish Covenant Hospital, visit Find a Physician >

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