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da Vinci ® Robotic Hysterectomy at Our Los Angeles Center

For most women, the idea of spending six to eight weeks recuperating from an operation isn’t just unpleasant – it’s inconceivable. Between working, running a household and keeping up with kids or grandkids, there’s very little room for simply resting and healing. It’s not that women don’t want to be compliant patients who follow their post-operative instructions for a smooth recovery. The problem is that most daily responsibilities don’t simply go away when it’s time for surgery. Many women force themselves to get back to full speed too soon in spite of the pain. On top of these physical demands, hysterectomy can be a very emotionally distressing procedure. Having to deal with ongoing discomfort only serves as a reminder of what has been lost.

Rather than postponing treatment due to fears about surgery, women need to know that they have the choice of hysterectomy without such a burdensome aftermath. Advances in robotics have made minimally invasive gynecological operations available to more women than ever. da Vinci  robotic hysterectomy surgery offers women the option to have major surgery without an extensive recovery time.

Who Is a Candidate for da Vinci Hysterectomy?

Patients with disease of the uterus and cervix, menstrual problems or chronic pelvic pain leading to poor quality of life are sometimes advised that a robotic hysterectomy is the most effective treatment. Symptoms and medical conditions that might lead to this recommendation include:

  • Severe, ongoing vaginal bleeding
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Prolapsed uterus
  • Cervical cancer or uterine cancer

 

Most women who have a serious health condition requiring partial or complete removal of the uterus are candidates for the da Vinci version of the operation. Patients who may not be good candidates for this minimally invasive procedure are those who have had prior surgery to their reproductive organs (the presence of scar tissue may make the outcome unpredictable). Bleeding disorders and advanced heart disease are also factors that may make any surgery risky, including both laparoscopic and open hysterectomy.

What Are the Benefits of da Vinci Hysterectomy?

Since one out of three American women have a hysterectomy before the age of 60, having a better option is making a difference in millions of lives. Here’s a look at some of the benefits associated with the da Vinci Surgical System:

The substantially less painful recovery following a state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic assisted hysterectomy is one of the most attractive features of this robotic procedure. Much of the pain of a hysterectomy is associated with the trauma to the skin and connective tissue (and sometimes the muscles) that must be cut through to reach the uterus. This incision can be 6 to 12 inches long depending on the patient’s anatomy. The larger and more extensive the incision, the more it will typically hurt during healing. Any movement of the abdomen such as sitting up or standing up pulls at the incision and can cause significant discomfort for weeks or months after the surgery. With the da Vinci approach, there are only four small 1 to 2 centimeter-long incisions. These are easy to close with dissolvable sutures or surgical glue after the surgery. Many patients need very little pain medication to cope with post-procedure discomfort.

Because of the minimally invasive nature of the da Vinci hysterectomy, it is also associated with less blood loss (compared to both open and laparoscopic surgery). The likelihood of needing a blood transfusion is very small. Complications and wound infections are rarer with robotically assisted hysterectomy compared to open hysterectomy. There simply isn’t as much that can go wrong. The inert gas pumped into the abdominal cavity helps to compress the tissue and minimize bleeding. The incisions in all layers of tissue are much smaller, meaning there is less risk of significant damage to nerves, muscles and other vital structures. The exposure of tissues is minimized, so wound infection risk is very slight.

Most patients go home the same day after miVIP Los Angeles hysterectomy surgery and do not require hospitalization. Some patients are back to their regular activities within a few days. Even vigorous activity like exercise is possible much sooner after a da Vinci hysterectomy compared to an open procedure. Because working out is a great mood booster, this may help patients cope with the emotional fallout of the surgery, as well. As always, the exact results vary from one person to the next and following all post-op instructions is essential for the best recovery.

Note: A minimally invasive robotic surgery can be particularly helpful for patients who are having a hysterectomy for early stages of uterine or cervical cancer. There is less overlap between the healing period and the exhausting side effects of chemo or radiation.

The da Vinci Hysterectomy vs. Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Laparoscopic procedures are much less invasive than open surgery. Before the introduction of robotic surgery, laparoscopy was a very attractive option. However, the da Vinci Surgical System has a number of advantages over even laparoscopy. Blood loss for both methods is modest compared to open surgery, but the da Vinci procedure cuts even that number by almost 50 percent compared to the laparoscopic hysterectomy.

The real difference is seen in how the da Vinci approach helps more patients avoid having an open procedure. In some situations, patients are simply not good candidates for a laparoscopic approach. That can be the case if the uterus is enlarged by fibroids or if the surgery will be very delicate or complex. Laparoscopic surgery relies on rigid tools and standard video imagery, which limits both maneuverability and visibility. In contrast, modern robotic equipment allows very precise movement and high magnification, which means more patients may qualify as candidates for minimally invasive surgery with da Vinci.

One common problem with laparoscopic surgery is that the surgeon may not realize that it isn’t going to work until the procedure is already underway. They often have to convert to an open procedure partway through. This leaves patients in a difficult situation. They may have planned for a recovery time of two weeks and be suddenly faced with a recovery up to four times as long. This can wreak havoc with work and childcare arrangements. It’s also a huge shock to come out of anesthesia and find that a more invasive method was required.

As many as one in five hysterectomies for non-cancerous conditions that start out as laparoscopic surgeries turn into an open procedure. With the da Vinci technology, that number is only about four out of every 100. Even if the surgery is more complex than anticipated, our world-class da Vinci surgeons are well equipped to handle changes as they arise.

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