As medical science and technology progress, it seems like there’s always some new procedure that promises miraculous results. And it is true, over the years, there have been leaps and bounds in our ability to better treat patients with procedures that are more effective, less painful, and require less recovery time. One type of procedure that has become an important part of gynecological medicine over the years is da Vinci surgery.
What is da Vinci Surgery?
Da Vinci the name for a robotic-assisted surgical system. It is important to note that it is robotically assisted, meaning that the doctor is in control of the surgery at all times. During surgery using the da Vinci system, the surgeon uses a console that is next to you and performs the surgery with tiny surgical instruments. When the surgeon moves their hands, the system responds with precision in real time with the instruments. The system includes a camera that provides 3D magnified images of internal views of the body. The da Vinci system is the most advanced and least invasive gynecological surgery method available today.
So, in reality, a robot is not operating on you, the machine is simply giving the surgeon greater control and precision. This means the surgery can be less invasive, with smaller incisions. Sometimes a da Vinci System can be used to perform a single-site procedure, using a small incision in the belly button. This type of procedure is for non-cancerous conditions.
What are some benefits of da Vinci surgery?
The benefits of da Vinci surgery all stem from the fact that it is less invasive and requires fewer and smaller incisions. These factors lead to the benefits of:
- Fewer complications like excessive blood loss and need for transfusions
- Less risk of infection
- Much less pain during healing.Shorter hospital stays
- Quicker recovery times so you can return to your normal routine sooner
- Smaller and fewer incisions mean less scarring
What gynecological procedures can be performed with da Vinci?
The most common procedure gynecological patients use the da Vinci System for is the hysterectomy.
If you are curious if you’re a candidate for da Vinci surgery, you are probably well aware of what a hysterectomy entails. But, if you are not familiar with what a hysterectomy is, it is a procedure to surgically remove the uterus. The reasons a woman might get a hysterectomy are varied.
The da Vinci robotic-assistance system may also be used for other gynecological procedures such as:
- Hysterectomies for benign conditions
- Hysterectomies for cancer
- Endometriosis resection
- Myomectomy: This is also known as a fibroidectomy, and is the surgical removal of uterine fibroids. In this procedure, the uterus is left intact.
- Pelvic organ prolapse surgery: procedures to repair the prolapse of pelvic organs (like the bladder, uterus and rectum) which can press against the vagina. These procedures can be either reconstructive or obliterative.
What makes someone a good candidate for gynecological da Vinci surgery?
With all the benefits of da Vinci gynecological surgery, you might be wondering if you are a good candidate for this type of procedure. Of course, when you know you need gynecological surgery, you should talk with your doctor about which kind of procedure is right for you. But, there are some things that might make da Vinci surgery a good option for you.
- You require or strongly desire a quick recovery time. This is often especially important for women who need to return to work or a caregiving role. Honestly, not many people have the kind of lifestyle that would accommodate an extended recovery period. But for some women, the need to be up and around quickly is far more urgent.
- Minimal scarring is very important to you.
- If you are not a candidate for a vaginal hysterectomy, which is often least invasive, because of an enlarged uterus or large fibroids.
- If you are not a candidate for certain kinds of hysterectomies it’s important to have discussions about why that is the case and what method will be safest for you in general, not just limited to da Vinci procedures.
- You tolerate anesthesia well and do not have a personal or family history of negative reactions to general anesthesia. Robotic-assisted surgeries like da Vinci procedures sometimes take a bit longer than other types of surgery, so you may be under anesthesia longer. If this is a concern, speak specifically about this with your physician.
- You have a doctor who is familiar and experienced with the da Vinci system and qualified to perform your surgery using the system. The interface can be complicated even for surgeons experienced in other methods. So, it is important to have a trusted surgeon experienced with da Vinci.
If you have questions about a possible gynecological surgery in your future and whether da Vinci is the right method for you, the physicians at Green Valley OB/GYN are here to work with you. We have extensive experience with a variety of gynecological issues and work with patients to ensure they get the best care possible. Call us at (336) 378-1110 to make an appointment Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.