Gynecology Robotic Surgery
A Less Invasive Option for Women
- Department of:
- Adena Regional Medical Center
Robotic-assisted surgeries have been performed for more than a decade, and thousands of men and women have benefited from the minimally invasive technology to treat a variety of conditions. The procedures are particularly beneficial for women who suffer from gynecological conditions that once required open surgery through a long incision across the abdomen. With more precise control, less scarring and pain, and a quicker return to daily activities, daVinci surgery can be a great option for busy, active women who experience these conditions:
When the tissue that lines the uterus—the endometrium—grows on organs outside of the uterus, such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and cervix, a common condition called endometriosis can result. Painful menstrual cramps, intestinal pain, chronic back and pelvic pain, infertility, and other symptoms may signal that you have endometriosis. While the growths are typically not cancerous, they’re still cause for concern for the more than 5 million U.S. women with the condition.
Treatments: Your physician may recommend hormone therapy including birth control pills or more targeted hormones such as progestins and danazol. If that isn’t effective, surgery is a good choice for many women who have severe pain or infertility. Both hysterectomy (removal of your uterus) and endometriosis resection can be done using the daVinci surgical system. Thanks to its high-definition, your surgeon can clearly visualize key anatomy, allowing the precise removal of deep endometrial tissue implants while preserving your uterus.
Heavy Uterine Bleeding
Also known as menorrhagia, abnormal menstrual bleeding is defined as lasting more than seven days, having clots the size of a quarter or larger, or being excessively heavy. The condition can be more than uncomfortable, it can cause anemia and other health problems.
Treatments: Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements to help deal with the blood loss or birth control pills to help regulate your period. For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Endometrial ablation, which destroys the endometrial lining, or hysterectomy, which removes the uterus, can treat heavy uterine bleeding. And both procedures can be done via daVinci surgery. Robotic-assisted surgery usually leads to fewer complications, a lower risk of wound infection, and a quicker return to normal activities.
It’s estimated that 50 percent of all women will develop uterine fibroids, muscular tumors that form in the walls of the uterus and are typically benign (noncancerous). Many women will never experience symptoms but others may have heavy and possibly irregular periods, pelvic pain, pelvic pressure that can lead to constipation or urinary frequency, and in some cases, infertility.
Treatment: Hormone medications are used most often to treat small fibroids whose only symptom is heavy bleeding. Larger fibroids or those causing additional symptoms will need to be treated with embolization, a technique that uses tiny gel particles to cut off blood supply to the fibroids; endometrial ablation, which destroys the lining of the uterus; or a surgical procedure called myomectomy. Robotic-assistedmyomectomy can be used to remove any size fibroid, and is particularly useful for large or complex fibroids because it allows precise incisions and delicate stitching to repair the uterine tissue damaged by the removal of the fibroid.
After a vaginal delivery, many women experience weakened pelvic floor muscles. The cumulative effects of gravity, menopause-related estrogen loss, and the damage to supportive tissues caused by pregnancy and childbirth can cause your uterus to slip through the pelvic floor and protrude into your vagina.
Treatment: If it doesn’t become too severe, many women can just live with uterine prolapse. But for those whose symptoms are life-altering, a surgery called sacrocolpopexy can help them get back to normal. During the procedure, the surgeon uses surgical mesh to provide long-term support to the vagina. While this surgery traditionally required a long horizontal incision, it can now be performed with daVinci surgery through ½-inch incisions, allowing your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision and precision. Robotic-assisted surgery also offers the benefits of less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay.
Cervical and uterine cancer may not get as much news coverage as breast cancer, but they should both be top of mind for women. About 12,000 women—most of them younger than age 50—will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year. Thanks to regular Pap smears, which test for cervical cancer, it is no longer the leading cause of cancer death in U.S. women as it was 40 years ago. Uterine cancer, sometimes called endometrial cancer, is the most common cancer affecting the female reproductive organs. It will strike more than 47,000 women this year—most of them older than age 50. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be a sign of both types of cancer.
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation—sometimes in combination—are used to treat cervical cancer. Women with endometrial cancer have those three treatments, plus hormonal therapy at their disposal. Sometimes, surgery is necessary, either to remove the uterus or to access some of the surrounding anatomy. While some procedures can be done vaginally without an external incision, many women who once feared the long, painful recovery of a traditional surgery now have a much less-invasive option. For complex hysterectomies and other gynecological surgeries, surgeons can use the daVinci robotic system to access the surgical site through tiny, ½-inch incisions. The advanced equipment allows the surgeons greater control and precision, which translates to less pain and a quicker recovery for you.
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, oftentimes along with the ovaries. Hysterectomy is the second most common women’s surgery in the U.S. today after C-sections. It is used to treat:
- uterine fibroids
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- pelvic prolapse
- uterine cancer
- ovarian cancer
- cervical cancer
The majority of hysterectomies are performed through traditional surgery requiring a 5- to 7-inch incision across the abdomen and four to six weeks of recovery. For some women, the uterus can be removed through the vagina or laparoscopically using special wands that are inserted into the abdomen through half-inch incisions with a tiny camera and surgical tools. These techniques result in less scarring and a quicker three- to four-week recovery. The newest type of hysterectomy is robotic-assisted surgery and it is now available at Adena Health System, even for complex conditions. The daVinci robot allows your surgeon more precise control and enhanced vision of the surgical field. For you, that means less pain and blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, fewer complications, and a much quicker return to normal activities.
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