One in four surgeries performed on US women by obstetric-gynecologic (OB-GYN) doctors involve robotic technology, so chances are good you may need one of these surgeries at some point in your life. But did you know some are done using this cutting-edge procedure?
Over 876,000 robotic-assisted surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2020. Here’s what happens during a robotic-assisted procedure and important facts you should know about this form of OB-GYN surgery.
What Is OB-GYN Robotic-assisted Surgery? Gynecologic robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery (in which incisions or cuts are smaller) designed to address female reproductive organs; while obstetrical robotic surgery specializes in pregnancy-related surgeries. Robotic procedures often feature smaller incisions and thinner surgical tools than traditional open surgery techniques.
Robot-assisted surgery entails a specially trained surgeon sitting several feet from their patient at a computer console that offers magnified, HD 3D views as well as hand controls to move robotic arms that hover above their operating table. An assistant stands by their bedside where there is also a video monitor that displays 3D views of the surgical site while robotic arms contain cameras and surgical tools needed for cutting, clamping and suturing (stitching up of incisions).
What types of OB-GYN robotic-assisted surgeries exist?
There are various kinds of robotic-assisted OB-GYN surgeries. Some examples are:
Robotic Hysterectomy (Removal of Uterus): Robotic surgery allows for precise removal of the uterus through small cuts in the abdomen to separate it from other tissues and then through vaginal removal or abdominal incision, via which an incision may also be made for removal.
Robot Myomectomy for Uterine Fibroid Removal: Robot myomectomy offers an efficient solution for treating fibroids located in difficult places, and can even reach into challenging places where surgical removal has proven unsuccessful.
Robotic endometriosis surgery: Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue from within your uterus deposits on other areas of your body, such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes or bladder. Doctors can use robotic-assisted surgery to remove areas of endometrial implants or lesions that cause severe pain and bleeding – this form of surgery might even prove more successful at extracting deeper endometrial tissue than traditional forms.
Robotic Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) Treatment: Prolapse occurs when one or more pelvic organs, like the bladder or uterus, moves out of its normal location and slip out of alignment. Robotic surgery offers an effective solution by lifting back in and securing with surgical mesh the affected organ.
What Are the Advantages of Robot-Assisted Surgery? Robot-assisted gynecological surgery may sound futuristic, but your surgeon controls all robotic arms throughout.
Robotic gynecological surgery offers many advantages.
Utilising robotic arms allows surgeons to operate with greater accuracy, often speeding up procedures significantly. There’s less chance for hand tremors when holding surgical instruments for extended periods.
Viewing their surgical site with 3D monitor provides surgeons with a more in-depth perspective than when performing traditional surgeries.
Patients operated on with robotic technology typically experience less bleeding, pain relief after surgery, reduced chances of infection and smaller scars after their operation. People also typically stay shorter hospital stays and recover faster.
What Are the Risks of Robot-Assisted Surgery? In general, robotic-assisted surgery is safe. But like traditional surgery it may present risks like infection, bleeding and blood clots as well as potential anesthesia complications.
Risks associated with robotic surgery may also include user error, mechanical malfunctions, electrical burns and nerve damage – although these occur only rarely.
Not all surgeries can be completed using robotic technology and not all healthcare facilities possess it; but if such robotic-assisted surgery options exist for your condition, make sure to speak to a provider about its potential benefits and drawbacks for you personally.