Until recently, gynecologic surgeries, such as a hysterectomy or fibroid removal, have been performed by open abdominal surgery or laparoscopic surgery, a surgical technique performed through small incisions that uses a laparoscope (camera) to view the internal organs. Now, it’s possible for women to take advantage of one of the newest technologies being applied to gynecologic surgery—robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery.

The robotic surgical system allows surgeons to operate through tiny incisions, gives hospitals and patients the benefits of minimally invasive surgery. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for gynecologic surgery in 2005, this system is one of the most innovative instruments available today to surgically treat gynecologic conditions.

“Robotic surgery uses advanced technology developed at NASA to enable extensive and complicated surgery to be accomplished through small atraumatic holes in the patient’s abdomen. This differs from traditional minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy) which only facilitated more simple / uncomplicated surgical procedures. Less surgical trauma means to the patient less post-op pain and a quicker recovery from the types of complicated surgeries that previously could only be performed via large incisions.”
– Kristina M. McLean, M.D., FACOG

Robotic-assisted surgery is similar to other forms of minimally invasive surgery in that instruments and cameras are inserted through small incisions. It is important to note that the surgeon controls all instruments in robotic surgery. The surgery is not performed by a pre-programmed robot.

The da Vinci Surgical Robotic System incorporates the latest advances in robotics and computer technology to give surgeons exceptional control of instruments and clear three-dimensional views similar to those obtained in traditional open surgery. The instruments and 3-D cameras are inserted into the patient through small incisions, about the size of a keyhole. A special console gives the surgeon magnified 3-D views of the procedure. Precise, computer-enhanced controls manipulate the tiny surgical instruments in a natural, intuitive manner that mimics the hands of the surgeon.

With the robot, magnification is improved, the images are 3-D and the dexterity is excellent. Complex procedures during a hysterectomy, such as securing the uterine vessels, performing an accurate culdotomy and over sewing the vaginal cuff, are facilitated by the robot, providing unique advantages over conventional surgery and improved patient outcomes post-procedure.

What are the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery for the patient?

• Reduces trauma to the patient’s body
• Reduces blood loss and need for transfusion
• Less postoperative discomfort and pain
• Reduces risk of infection
• Shorter hospital stay
• Faster postoperative recovery and return to normal activities
• Less scarring and improved cosmetic appearance

Drs. McLean and Lewis-Boardman now offer robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery for non-cancerous conditions as an exciting alternative for minimally invasive procedures at South Lake Hospital.

To learn more about this exciting technology as well as the da Vinci robot, please download a brochure (PDF) by clicking here.