Top 5 Benefits of Choosing a Robotic Hysterectomy

Robot-assisted hysterectomy, Robotic surgery, hysterectomy recovery

Every year in the U.S., more than half a million women have hysterectomies, having either their entire uterus or part of their uterus removed. According to the CDC, more than 11 percent of women in their early 40s undergo the procedure, typically to treat medical issues like heavy bleeding, large and symptomatic fibroids, or cancer. By the time age 60 rolls around, more than a third of all women have had hysterectomies.

Of course, just because the procedure is relatively common, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure, after all, and that means it has some risks. While traditional “open” hysterectomy was once the only option, today robotic hysterectomies have become a safe, effective option for many women, especially women who have scarring from prior surgeries, endometriosis, or adhesions. At Brown Pearson and Guepet Gynecology, we use the da Vinci Surgical System, a state-of-the-art robotic system used not only in gynecology, but in many other areas of medicine as well.

Robotic surgery: Science, not fiction

When you hear the term “robotic hysterectomy,” it’s easy to conjure up visions of Robbie the Robot sporting some sort of high-tech surgical mask. But the truth is actually much simpler (and less startling). A more correct term for this type of procedure is robot-assisted, since the surgeon still performs the actual surgery. The robot is more or less an additional instrument that the surgeon uses and controls. Robot-assisted hysterectomy can offer some pretty substantial benefits for women who are good candidates.

Better visualization

The robot system uses a camera system to allow the surgeon to see inside the belly without needing to make a large incision. In fact, the visualization is enhanced, making it easier to see — and work around — delicate structures like the bladder. Better visualization means surgical risks are decreased. Plus, because the surgeon can see the veins and arteries more clearly, there can be less bleeding and less tissue damage.

Shorter hospital stay

Robot-assisted hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgery, meaning it uses far smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery. Typically, minimally invasive procedures are associated with a shorter hospital stay, and robot-assisted hysterectomy is no exception. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the Society of Laparoendscopic Surgeons found that patients who had robot-assisted hysterectomy had a shorter length of stay even compared to patients who had laparoscopic hysterectomy, another minimally invasive technique, but without robot assistance. Not only is that good for your quality of life (and reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections), but it’s also cost-effective.

Fewer complications

Robot-assisted procedures are also associated with fewer complications compared to traditional hysterectomy, as well as laparoscopic hysterectomy. In part, that’s due to the smaller incision, reduced tissue damage, and better visualization, but it’s also because the robot technology lets surgeons perform very precise movements in delicate areas with greater accuracy and reproducibility, which means there’s less variation and, therefore, less risk of injury.

Less discomfort

Surgery is associated with some degree of postoperative discomfort, and once again, the smaller incisions associated with robot-assisted surgery means there’s less tissue damage and, therefore, significantly less pain (plus, a lot less scarring). That’s a great benefit, and it gets better: Since patients tend to be more comfortable following robot-assisted hysterectomies, they need fewer painkillers, which means the risks associated with those medications can be substantially reduced.

Faster recovery

One of the worst parts of having any type of surgery is the recovery period afterward. In a traditional hysterectomy that uses a larger incision across your belly, the recovery period can be prolonged and uncomfortable. Even simple activities like walking and standing can be painful, and you’ll have to wait considerably longer before you can lift anything or get back to your regular activities, including your job. Because it’s less invasive and causes less bleeding and less tissue damage, robot-assisted hysterectomy is (probably unsurprisingly) associated with a faster recovery and a faster return to your normal routines. And for most patients, that typically means they experience less stress and frustration as well.

Robot-assisted hysterectomy can be a great option for many women, but even though it offers plenty of benefits, it’s not always the best choice. To learn more about robot-assisted hysterectomy and whether it’s the right option for you, book an appointment online today.

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