As many as three out of four women develop uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths of muscle tissue within the uterus. These growths can cause chronic pain, abnormal bleeding, severe cramping, bladder and rectum pressure, frequent urination, infertility and miscarriage.
Myomectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the fibroids but preserves the uterus, is one treatment option. Women have three approaches to myomectomy -- traditional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and assisted surgery with the innovative da Vinci Surgical System.
The benefits of da Vinci’s minimally invasive approach include:
Opportunity for future pregnancy
Significantly less pain
Less blood loss
Fewer complications - including reduced risk of infection
Less scarring – 1-2 cm incisions versus 6-10 inches with open surgery
Shorter hospital stay - one day versus an average of three days
Quicker recovery from surgery and return to normal routine
The state-of-the-art da Vinci robot allows some complex surgeries to be performed as minimally invasive procedures. Through tiny 1-2 cm incisions, a surgeon using the da Vinci system can operate with precision and control while minimizing the pain that often accompanies the large incisions associated with open surgery. The surgeon uses special hand controls to guide the robotic arms which hold specially designed surgical instruments. The latest computer technology converts the surgeon’s large hand movements into precise small movements, resulting in tremendous dexterity. The robotic “wrists” can rotate a full 360 degrees, enabling a surgeon to control the miniature surgical instruments with unprecedented accuracy, flexibility and range of motion. This dexterity allows the surgeon to close, or suture, the uterus in neat, precise layers after fibroids are removed, which keeps the organ strong and healthy for future pregnancies. The da Vinci System requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from a surgeon – the machine cannot move on its own.
The three-dimensional, high definition da Vinci camera supplies a surgeon with a magnified view of the internal organs and blood vessels that’s better than normal vision. Amplification of the vessels helps the surgeon regulate blood flow to the uterus while removing the fibroids. The enhanced visualization and greater degree of movement offered by the da Vinci System provides a minimally invasive alternative that can be used for many complex myomectomies.
For more information on the da Vinci System’s leading-edge robotic technology, click here.
Contact a gynecologist to find out if da Vinci assisted surgery may be your best treatment option.
Questions and Answers
What is traditional "open" myomectomy surgery?
Traditional open surgery, using a large (6-10”) incision on the belly, has been the standard myomectomy approach for many years. The large incision creates space for the surgeon’s hands to have full freedom of movement. However, with open surgery, patients often experience significant pain, a 2-3 day hospital stay and up to six weeks for post-surgery recovery.
What is laparoscopic myomectomy surgery?
Laparoscopy, a relatively recent approach to fibroid surgery, gives patients the benefits associated with a smaller incision, including shorter recovery time, less scarring and reduced pain. Special surgical instruments and a video camera are inserted into a patient’s body through 2-3 small incisions. The camera transmits a two-dimensional image of the internal organs onto a television monitor that a surgeon views while removing the fibroids. The rigidity of the laparoscopic instruments poses some limitations, but this approach is a safe and effective option for routine, less complex myomectomies.
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