Illinois man gets robotic kidney surgery

April 5, 2012

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A suburban Chicago man waited 17 years before robotic surgery allowed him to get a new kidney.

Jimmie Jones was diagnosed with hypertensive kidney disease and needed dialysis three times a week. In 1995, doctors told the Calumet Park resident he needed to lose weight before a transplant. Many transplant centers won't do surgery on very obese patients because of the high risk of infection and lower chance of survival.

But Jones couldn't lose enough weight.

Physicians at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago began performing robotic kidney surgery for obese patients who wouldn't otherwise be transplant candidates. Jones, now 64, underwent surgery in February.

He no longer needs dialysis. Doctors say it's a miracle he survived. About 70 percent of hypertensive dialysis patients survive less than five years.