Robotic-Assisted Hysterectomy

Overview of Robotic-Assisted Hysterectomy

What is Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy? 

Robotic-assisted hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove the uterus using robotic technology. It involves using a surgical robot controlled by a surgeon to perform the procedure through small incisions in the abdomen. The robotic system provides enhanced visualization, precision, and dexterity compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery.

When is this procedure conducted?

We use this method for various gynecological conditions that require removal of the uterus. This includes conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic organ prolapse, and certain gynecologic cancers like endometrial or cervical cancer. It is often considered when traditional open surgery poses higher risks or when laparoscopic surgery alone may be challenging.

Why do surgeons use robots for hysterectomy?

We use robots for hysterectomy for its advantages over traditional open or laparoscopic surgery. Robotic technology provides us with better visualization, precision, and dexterity. This allows us to perform complex procedures with greater accuracy and control. 

Why would someone need a robotic hysterectomy?

Someone may need a robotic hysterectomy for various gynecological conditions that require removal of the uterus. These conditions may include large uterine fibroids, severe endometriosis, abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic organ prolapse, or gynecologic cancers such as endometrial or cervical cancer. Robotic hysterectomy may be recommended when traditional open surgery poses higher risks or when laparoscopic surgery alone may be technically challenging.

Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy Process

What happens during a robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

During a robotic-assisted hysterectomy, we make several small incisions in the abdomen to insert trocars, or thin tubes, through which the robotic arms and camera are inserted. We then control the robotic arms from a console in the operating room, manipulating specialized instruments to perform the surgery. The uterus and, if necessary, other reproductive organs such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes are removed using precise surgical techniques.

How do they remove your uterus during robotic surgery?

During the surgery, we first detach the uterus from surrounding tissues and blood vessels using robotic instruments. The uterus is then carefully dissected free from the cervix and vagina. Once detached, the uterus is placed into a specimen bag and removed through one of the small incisions in the abdomen. 

What position are you in during robotic hysterectomy?

During robotic hysterectomy, the patient is positioned on the operating table in the dorsal lithotomy position, similar to the position used for traditional open or laparoscopic hysterectomy. This position allows us to access your abdomen and pelvis and provides optimal exposure for the robotic instruments and camera.

Is this type of hysterectomy painful?

A robotic hysterectomy is generally associated with less pain and discomfort compared to traditional open surgery. Since robotic-assisted hysterectomy is minimally invasive, it involves smaller incisions and reduced tissue trauma, resulting in less postoperative pain. Additionally, patients may experience less pain due to reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery times compared to open surgery.

How long does the surgery take to complete?

The duration of the procedure varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the surgery and the patient’s individual anatomy. On average, the procedure can take anywhere from one to four hours to complete. Factors such as the need for additional procedures, such as removal of lymph nodes or reconstruction of pelvic structures, may also influence the duration of the surgery.

What can I expect after my procedure?

After the procedure, you can expect a relatively shorter recovery period compared to traditional open surgery. Most patients are discharged from the hospital within 24 to 48 hours after surgery and can resume light activities within a few days. However, full recovery may take several weeks, during which patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities. Pain and discomfort are usually mild and can be managed with pain medications prescribed by the surgeon.

Risks of Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy

What are the risks related to this procedure?

Like any other procedure, robotics surgery carries risks including injury to surrounding organs or tissues, bleeding, infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, blood clots, urinary tract injury or retention, vaginal cuff dehiscence, conversion to open surgery, postoperative pain, and allergic reactions to medications. This is why it’s important to work with a highly-capable doctor who has a strong background in robotics surgery. 

What are the advantages of robotic-assisted surgery compared to traditional open surgery?

Robotic-assisted hysterectomy offers advantages such as:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Reduced scarring and pain
  • Decreased blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced risk of postoperative complications

Recovery and Outlook for Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy

What is the recovery time for a robotic total hysterectomy?

Recovery time for a robotic total hysterectomy varies but typically ranges from two to six weeks. Patients may experience discomfort, vaginal bleeding, and fatigue during this time. Most patients can resume light activities within a few days but should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for several weeks.

When will I feel better after my procedure?

Patients generally start feeling better within a few days to a week after their robotic hysterectomy procedure. Pain and discomfort gradually decrease over time as the body heals. However, full recovery may take several weeks.

What are the activities I need to avoid?

After a robotic hysterectomy, patients should avoid:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Strenuous activities
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Straining. 

They should also follow a diet to prevent constipation and take prescribed medications as directed, including pain medications and blood thinners.

What’s the overall outlook after robotics-assisted Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy?

The overall outlook is positive for most patients undergoing robotic-assisted hysterectomy. Many experience improvements in symptoms and quality of life. With proper care and follow-up, most patients achieve successful recovery without significant long-term complications.

What can I expect during recovery after my surgery?

Recovery involves gradually returning to normal activities while allowing the body to heal. Patients may experience some discomfort, fatigue, and vaginal bleeding during this time. With proper care and adherence to postoperative instructions, most patients achieve a successful recovery and resume their usual activities within a few weeks.