Did you know that hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – is the second most common surgical procedure for women in the U.S.? Hysterectomies are so common that one in three women will have a hysterectomy prior to age 60. However, new technology like the da Vinci Surgical System has made traditional, more painful hysterectomies a thing of the past. Today, more women in Mesa, Tempe, and around the country have access to advanced, minimally invasive hysterectomy with da Vinci.
What is a da Vinci hysterectomy?
The da Vinci Surgical System is arguably the most advanced, sophisticated surgical system in the world. The system can be used to perform a variety of procedures, from treating throat cancer to coronary artery disease. However, hysterectomy is one of the most common procedures that the technology is used for. (Learn more about other da Vinci gynecology procedures.)
The da Vinci surgical system is a robot-assisted surgical device. In other words, your surgeon is in complete control of the machine and the surgery. No aspects of the surgery are “automated.” Rather, the da Vinci system allows your surgeon to perform highly technical and precise motions that would not be possible with the human hand.
During a da Vinci hysterectomy, the surgeon sits at the control center just a few feet away from the operating table. The surgeon’s station has small grips, which the surgeon uses to guide the actual surgical instruments that perform the operation. These precise controls are tremor-resistant and can scale down large motions. The surgeon is able to view everything on a magnified 3D high-definition viewer just above the instrument controls.
What benefits does a da Vinci hysterectomy offer?
da Vinci hysterectomy offers a number of benefits over open, vaginal, and even laparoscopic hysterectomy. For one, da Vinci surgery is performed through just a few small 8 mm incisions – instead of one large incision (as with an open hysterectomy).
Women who have a da Vinci hysterectomy may experience the following potential benefits (when compared to traditional surgical approaches):
- More precise removal of cancerous tissue.
- Shorter hospital stay. Many patients go home the same-day.
- Less pain.
- Faster recovery.
- Quicker return to normal activity. Many women are able to return to work within one week of the procedure.
- Less risk of wound infection.
- Less scarring.
- Less blood loss.
Also, patients who choose da Vinci over laparoscopic hysterectomy usually have less need for narcotic pain medicine and also enjoy a lower risk of having to convert to open surgery.
Why have a da Vinci hysterectomy?
There are many reasons for having the uterus removed. da Vinci hysterectomy may be used to treat the following conditions:
- Fibroid Tumors
- Severe Endometriosis
- Heavy Uterine Bleeding
- Pelvic Pain
- Uterine or Vaginal Prolapse
- Gynecological Cancer
In patients with fibroid tumors or cancer, the uterus is oftentimes enlarged, which makes a vaginal hysterectomy very difficult if not impossible. For these women, whose alternatives are typically open and laparoscopic hysterectomy, the da Vinci option is especially good news.
What risks are associated with da Vinci hysterectomy?
In addition to the risks that are common to all forms of surgery, women undergoing any kind of hysterectomy – da Vinci or otherwise – are at minimal risk for separation of the vaginal incision, urinary tract injury, and a blocked lung artery. Though these risks are rare, it’s important to be aware of them. Additionally, women who undergo a minimally invasive hysterectomy (such as da Vinci) have a slight risk for hernia – bulging at the incision site.
Who is a candidate for da Vinci hysterectomy?
Women who suffer from benign conditions and/or early stage gynecologic cancer may be considered candidates for da Vinci hysterectomy. Only a physician can tell you if robotically assisted hysterectomy is right for you.