Walter Center for Urological Health Heals the Total Patient
Dr. Kristian Novakovic values the less-invasive nature of robotic surgery for treating prostate cancer. “There’s a faster return to normal activities,” he said.
When Tom Jones was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011, the news tipped the scales for what was already a stressful year— his wife had recently recovered from a serious car accident, and he had lost his job. Yet Jones kept a positive outlook, strengthened by the care he received at the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health at NorthShore.
A routine physical with his affiliated primary care physician Sheilendr Khipple, MD, indicated an elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level, so Jones initially was referred to NorthShore urologist Thomas Keeler, MD. Dr. Keeler holds an academic title at the Pritzker School of Medicine and is part of the Center’s comprehensive team of specialists. After a biopsy confirmed Jones had prostate cancer, he and Dr. Keeler discussed a variety of treatment options.
This patient-physician collaboration is characteristic of the Walter Center. Treatment plans for prostate cancer are based on each individual case coupled with a patient’s personal preference that reflects his quality-oflife priorities, such as managing potential side effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
“With all that had happened to me, I really felt I had to face this head-on,” said Jones, 60, who liked the Walter Center’s multidisciplinary, personalized approach to care. He chose the option of a robotic radical prostatectomy— a full removal of the prostate—with NorthShore urologist Kristian Novakovic, MD. Dr. Novakovic is fellowship-trained in robotic surgery and holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Robotic-assisted surgery offers greater precision and range of motion with fewer complication risks than traditional surgery. “Robotic surgery also provides us with magnified, 3-D views,” said Dr. Novakovic. “It’s less invasive and can result in quicker recovery times, so there’s a faster return to normal activities.”
Treatment for prostate cancer is evolving toward intervention for those with higher risk of the disease, he continued. “In many of those patients, a surgical approach provides the most accurate staging of the cancer and helps make decisions about adjuvant treatments such as radiation therapy.”
Jones was back playing tennis a month after surgery. “The staff at the Walter Center is focused on getting patients back to 100 percent,” he said. “They aren’t satisfied until everything is working as well as it can work.”