A woman’s decision to undergo a hysterectomy is always filled with questions. Now the Robotic-Assisted Hysterectomy option removes many of those questions. McLeod OB/GYN Paul Chandler, MD, explains:
Here’s a summary of Dr. Chandler’s discussion:
A hysterectomy is removal of the uterus, and most of the time, the cervix. Sometimes we remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes as well. Fallopian tubes can be a source of cancer, so when we’re doing a hysterectomy, we will remove the fallopian tubes with the uterus.
Abnormal bleeding is a major indication for the surgery, along with pelvic pain and masses, involving the ovaries or the uterus. Pelvic floor relaxation problems, such as pelvic organ prolapse, can necessitate a hysterectomy. Certain types of female cancers can also lead to a hysterectomy.
There are “open” and “minimally invasive” procedures. Open procedures involve a big incision. The surgeon goes in through the incision to remove the uterus. Depending on the size of the uterus and the woman’s type of problem, the incision can either go across the abdomen or up and down. Minimally invasive hysterectomies require smaller incisions and also are better for recovery.
A type of minimally-invasive hysterectomy enables the surgeon to use robotic assistance. The advantage of robotic-assisted hysterectomy over traditional open hysterectomy is less blood loss, less risk of injury to organs and more rapid recovery.
Another advantage of doing robotic-assisted hysterectomy is better visualization. We actually have two cameras we see through, creating a 3D view, which offers depth perception that you don’t get with traditional laparoscopic surgery. Other advantages include higher magnification, up to 40 times enlargement, in the eyepiece.
I can see exactly what I want to view. The scope is very still compared to doing traditional laparoscopic surgery, where I directly move the instruments.
I’ve had patients return to work within two weeks, which is really unheard of with an open abdominal hysterectomy. With the large open incision, recovery is usually six weeks, a huge difference in recovery. Patients feel better faster, they’re on their feet quicker and they’re out of the hospital usually the next day.
We can do pelvic floor relaxation surgeries robotically. We can take out large fibroids, even very large uteruses robotically. There aren’t too many women that wouldn’t be a candidate for robotic-assisted hysterectomy surgery.