What is Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy surgically removes the uterus, the place in a woman’s belly where a baby develops during pregnancy; other organs such as the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed at the same time, should you have problems that call for it.
Hysterectomy is usually an elective surgery used for non-cancerous gynecologic conditions that haven’t improved with less aggressive treatments.
There are several types of hysterectomy, including vaginal, performed through an incision in the vagina; abdominal, performed through an incision in the abdomen; laparoscopic, performed using specialized tools with a camera attached inserted through tiny incisions in your abdomen; and robotic, which is one of the most common applications of robotic surgery.
What is Robotic Hysterectomy?
In 2005, the Federal Drug Administration approved the minimally invasive robotic da Vinci® Surgical System for use in the field of gynecology, enhancing the efficiency, accuracy, ease, and comfort in countless of laparoscopic procedures, including hysterectomy.
The advent of a robotic alternative meant that surgical procedures such as hysterectomy could be performed precisely and accurately through tiny incisions, with the added benefit of heightened vision with 3-dimensional imaging and enhanced dexterity far superior to other methods.
Robotic hysterectomy is used in treating the following:
- Cervical, endometrial, or fallopian cancer
- Endometriosis or adenomyosis, in which cells that line the inside of the uterus develop and grow outside the uterine wall
- Severe abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Uterine prolapse, in which the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor expand and grow weak, allowing the uterus to slide into or project out of the vagina
- Ongoing pelvic pain, in which all other options have failed
- Uterine fibroids, the most common pelvic tumor of the female genitals
Although not all cases requiring hysterectomy are suitable for robotic surgery, for many women it provides the least invasive and most effective treatment. Your medical history, the presence of surgical scars and other irregularities can limit your options for other types of hysterectomy may make you an ideal candidate for robotic hysterectomy.
The potential benefits of robotic hysterectomy may include:
- Smaller incisions
- Significantly less pain
- Shorter recovery time
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less blood loss, meaning less chance of needing a transfusion
- Less scarring
- A faster return to normal daily activities
- Less risk for complications
When Considering Robotic Hysterectomy
It is important that you are aware of the different types of hysterectomy, and the implications of each to your life; discuss these the pros and cons, along with your expectations regarding the outcome, with your physician. Your current health will influence the success of the procedure and your recovery. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks for your situation.