All about robotic surgery for hysterectomies
By Lino A. Ossanna, MD., an OB/GYN at Banner Ironwood Medical Center in San Tan Valley, Ariz.
Question: I’m going to have a hysterectomy and would like to know more about having this done using robotic surgery.
Answer: There was a time when the thought of using robots to perform surgery seemed a futuristic fantasy. Not anymore.
The Davinci Robotic system was first approved by the FDA for Gynecologic surgery in 2005. Nationally, the Davinci robotic system is being used more and more to perform hysterectomies for conditions such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts, as well as gynecological cancers including ovarian and uterine.
About 600,000 hysterectomies are performed nationally each year; 60 percent are done through an eight- to 10-inch incision which takes an average of eight weeks to heal after a hospital stay of at least three to four days.
The robotic approach involves five small incisions, about half an inch where ports for the surgical instruments and one for the 3-D camera are inserted. During an operation, the surgeon looks into two full-color screens that magnify the field 10 times. Because the image is 3-D, the doctor feels as if he is working inside the patient when he is actually 8 feet away, sitting at a console. The instruments are inserted through the ports. Each instrument is just about 5mm or 8mm across, about half the diameter of a dime, and has the full rotation of a human wrist.
The Davinci robotic system has the advantage of better visualization, less blood loss, lower complication rates, less pain after surgery and shorter recovery times. Most women for example, who underwent a hysterectomy, went home either the same day or the next day and were fully recovered within three weeks.
With many women leading busy lives and not having the luxury of weeks of downtime, the Davinci robotic system is an advanced technology that provides a less invasive approach for women who are candidates for surgery.