Understanding Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform procedures through much smaller incisions than those used in traditional gynecologic surgery.
A common misconception is that robots perform the procedure when, in actuality, a surgeon trained in the robotic technique conducts the entire procedure by remotely controlling the robotic arms.
Working from a console inside the operating room, the gynecologic surgeon uses a magnified 3-D computer monitor screen to view the area while remotely guiding the robotic arms and instruments. The small robotic tools move with the surgeon’s hands, allowing even delicate procedures to be performed with precision.
Robotic Surgery in Gynecology
A number of gynecologic conditions can be treated through robotic surgery, including:
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Uterine and cervical cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Vaginal fistulas
- Excessive bleeding
- Tubal ligation reversal
- Ovarian cysts
Advantages of Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery requires the same high-level surgical skill needed in traditional surgery, along with advanced training in the robotic technique. It allows the surgeon to work in a more comfortable environment, reduces fatigue and enhances visualization of the surgical area.
The smaller incisions required for robotic procedures make surgeries less invasive, leading to shorter patient recovery time. In addition, there is less blood loss, less post-operative discomfort, less scarring, reduced recovery times and fewer complications. In some cases, robotic surgery may even help preserve fertility.
Risks Associated with Robotic Surgery
Although numerous robotic surgeries have been successfully performed, robotic surgery is not for everyone. Patients who are not candidates for minimally invasive surgery are generally not considered candidates for robotic surgery either. As with any surgical procedure, robotic surgery does involve some risk. Possible complications include: reactions to anesthesia, bleeding or infection.
Before scheduling any robotic surgery procedure, your gynecologist will perform a thorough history and physical and discuss any advantages or disadvantages associated with robotic surgery.