What is robotic assisted hysterectomy?

Robotic assisted hysterectomy is a type of surgery that uses surgeon-controlled robotic equipment to remove your uterus.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ located in a woman’s pelvis. Having a hysterectomy ends menstruation and the ability to become pregnant. Depending on the reason for the surgery, a hysterectomy may also involve the removal of other organs and tissues, such as the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes.

A robotic assisted surgery system consists of two separate pieces of equipment. One robotic piece of equipment is located next to the patient in the operating room. This robotic piece has four arms, which are long thin tubes that are attached to either a thin surgical instrument or a tiny camera. The surgical instruments and camera enter the patient’s body through small ½ inch cuts (incisions) in the abdomen.

A short distance away from the operating table, the surgeon is seated in front of a separate computerized piece of equipment that looks like a video game. The surgeon controls the movements of the robotic arms and instruments with hand-held controls. The surgeon looks through binocular-like lenses on the equipment and a computer generates a three-dimensional view of the operating area. Foot pedals control the camera and allow the surgeon to zoom in or out to change the surgical view.

In what ways does robotic assisted surgery help the surgeon?

The robotic assisted surgery is a computer-enhanced surgical system that gives surgeons the advantages of:

  • A 3-D view of the surgical field, including depth, up to 15 times the magnification and high resolution
  • Instruments that mimic the movement of the human hands, wrists and fingers, allowing an extensive range of motion that is more precise than the surgeon’s natural hand and wrist movements
  • A constant steadiness of the robot arms and instruments and robot wrists that make it easier for surgeons to operate on organs and tissues for long periods of time and from angles and positions they would have difficulty reaching with human hands and fingers

The surgeon controls every precise movement of the robotic arms and instruments. The robotic arms cannot move on their own.

Who may benefit from robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

Robotic assisted hysterectomy may be especially helpful in:

  • Patients who are obese
  • Patients who have endometrial cancer
  • Patients who have complex surgical cases, such as advanced stage endometriosis or pelvic adhesive disease (scar tissue that binds nearby organs together)

You and your surgeon will discuss if robotic assisted surgery is possible and appropriate for your specific condition.

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