Physicians perform a hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including uterine prolapse, endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Each year, American doctors perform approximately 600,000 hysterectomies, making it the second most common surgical procedure performed on reproductive age women in the United States.
There are several approaches to performing a hysterectomy - traditional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery with the innovative da Vinci® Surgical System. The benefits of da Vinci’s minimally invasive approach include:
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 (or the potential to go home the same day) versus an average of three days
Quicker recovery from surgery and return to normal routine
Boulder Community Health has the most experienced robotic surgery team in Boulder County.
The state-of-the-art da Vinci robot allows some complex surgeries to be performed as minimally invasive procedures. In certain cases, a hysterectomy can be performed as "single-site" surgery,where the surgeon makes just one tiny incision through the belly button - a virtually scarless procedure. Dr. Brian Nelson is one of only two gynecologists on the Colorado Front Range who is trained to perform single-site hysterectomies with the da Vinci.
If a patient is not a candidate for single site-surgery, the da Vinci hysterectomy still only requires just a few tiny 1-2 cm incisions. Through these incisions, a surgeon using the da Vinci 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. The daVinci System requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from a surgeon – the machine cannot move on itsown.
The three-dimensional, high definition da Vinci camera supplies a surgeon with a magnified view of the internal organs that’s better than normal vision. 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 hysterectomies.
Click here to read stories from former da Vinci hysterectomy patients.
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" hysterectomy surgery?
Traditional open surgery, using a large (6-10”) incision on the belly, has been the standard 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 hysterectomy surgery?
Laparoscopy, a relatively recent approach to hysterectomies, 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 uterus. The rigidity of the laparoscopic instruments poses some limitations, but this approach is a safe and effective option for routine, less complex hysterectomies.
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