The decision to have a hysterectomy is a personal and often emotional choice many women make. Fortunately, there are several options that can help make both the surgery itself and the recovery process minimally disruptive to women’s lives. One of those options is a robotic, or da Vinci®, surgery.
“A hysterectomy, which is a surgery that removes a woman’s uterus, can lead to complications that can be minimized by robotic surgery,” said Victor Casiano, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Institute for Women’s Health, San Antonio. “Recent studies have shown better clinical outcomes for benign hysterectomies for women who opted not to undergo conventional abdominal, vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomies.”
The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to help surgeons perform minimally invasive surgeries. Rather than performing a traditional operation, the surgeon uses the robotic surgery system to gain magnified views via specialized instrumentation including a miniaturized surgical camera and other instruments. This allows for precise dissection and reconstruction during complex internal surgeries, which in turn reduces recovery times and risk of complications for the patient. Robotic surgeries are performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, and incisions are tiny – usually only three or four incisions are made near the belly button
“Depending on the patient’s specific circumstances, robotic surgeries can be most beneficial,” Dr. Casiano said. “I’ve seen, first-hand, the outcomes of complex cases performed with the da Vinci Surgical System as opposed to traditional methods of surgery. Typically, the more delicate procedures require assistance with robotic surgery.”
Patients who undergo robotic-assisted hysterectomies share a variety of risky co-factors: advanced age, obesity and larger uteruses than what is typical. Other reasons a doctor may recommend robotic surgery include uterine conditions such as endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain and both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
“Recent studies show that women who undergo hysterectomies assisted with robotic surgery experience significantly lower reoperation rates and hospital readmissions than women who underwent traditional surgeries,” Dr. Casiano said. “Any type of surgery has the potential to be disruptive to a patient’s life, so our goal is to get them back to their normal routine as quickly as possible.”
If you’re considering a hysterectomy, talk to your OB/GYN about whether or not you may be a candidate for robotic surgery. They can further explain the risks and benefits specific to you.
Victor Casiano, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist with the Institute for Women’s Health, San Antonio. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Casiano, please call 210.226.9705.