Robotic Gynecologic Surgery

Women undergo gynecologic surgery for a number of conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, excessive bleeding and cancer. While medication and nonsurgical procedures are available for most of these conditions, surgery may be the only treatment that provides long-lasting, effective results.
Traditional gynecologic surgery using large incisions and lengthy hospital stays has been the standard approach to gynecologic procedures. This approach is quickly becoming outdated in the technologically advanced medical world. While less-invasive laparoscopic procedures are becoming more common, robotic-assisted surgery offers more surgical advantages and can be used for many gynecologic surgeries.

Robotic-assisted surgery is performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, a device that guides surgeons through complex surgical procedures with precision, visualization, dexterity and control. Most procedures are performed with a few tiny incisions into which miniaturized surgical hands are inserted. Your surgeon controls these hands while observing the magnified view of the procedure on the monitor. The robotic hands mimic the movements of the surgeon's hands and they will not move unless the surgeon is observing the procedure through the systems lens.

Advanced Laparoscopy

A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat problems of the genital and pelvic areas. During this procedure, an endoscope (tube) with a camera on the end is inserted through a tiny incision that allows your doctor to closely examine the organs of the area. Surgical instruments can be inserted through additional incisions to treat any identified problems.

Technological advances have brought computers and laparoscopic instruments to the forefront of surgical approaches. This provides patients with a minimally invasive technique that can be utilized in a wide range of procedures.

A laparoscopic procedure may be performed for a number of reasons, including:

  • Perform a biopsy
  • Examine and possibly remove any growths
  • Diagnose and treat endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Perform endometrial ablation to treat heavy menstrual periods
  • Remove fibroids
  • Check for metastasis of cancer
  • Perform a tubal ligation
  • Remove organs such as the uterus, one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes
  • Determine the cause of pelvic pain
  • Determine the cause of infertility

The laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia and generally takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what is done during the procedure. Laparoscopic surgery significantly shortens a patient's recovery time resulting in fewer complications as compared to traditional open surgery. Patients can go home shortly after the procedure and return to work and other normal activities the next day. Strenuous activity should be avoided for about a week. Laparoscopy is considered a safe procedure with little risk of complications.

Single Port Laparoscopy

A single port laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive form of  surgery in which the doctor creates only a single small incision, also called a  port.  Use of a single port makes this  method even less invasive than traditional laparoscopic procedures, which  typically require the use of one small incision in which to place the  laparoscope and several others through which to insert the surgical  instruments.

All types of laparoscopic procedures generally offer a lower  risk of complications and faster recovery period than open forms of surgery do.  However, single port laparoscopy has even  more advantages, as the creation of only one tiny incision produces very little  or no scarring.  In addition, the  likelihood of developing complications is even lower, the recovery period is a  little shorter and less discomfort is experienced than with conventional laparoscopic  procedures.

Appropriate Procedures for Single Port  Laparoscopy

Single port laparoscopy is not ideal for all surgical  procedures because there may be limitations to the amount of movement a surgeon  can make when all of the instruments are inserted through one small site.  Surgical instruments designed to provide more  flexibility are used, but in certain cases it is still better to approach the  procedure through the multiple sites offered by a traditional laparoscopy.

Some of the gynecological procedures currently being  performed using single port laparoscopy include:

  • Laparoscopic  salpingo-oophorectomy, which is a procedure performed to remove one or both of the fallopian tubes and one or both of the ovaries
  • Laparoscopic  salpingectomy/cystectomy, which is a procedure performed to remove one of the  fallopian tubes as well as an ovarian cyst while preserving the ovary
  • Laparoscopic   hysterectomy, which is a procedure performed to remove the uterus and  sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes as well
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