Robotic Abdominal Surgery a Boon for Patients

Abdominal surgery patients can experience far less pain, scarring, blood loss, hospital stay and recovery time when doctors operate on them using a new robotic system that's still in only a handful of hospitals around the country. Doctors are using robotic surgery for a variety of pelvic problems, including endometriosis, uterine fibroid removal, ovarian cysts and scar-tissue breakdown. Endometriosis is a little-understood disorder in which tissue (endometrium) similar to that lining the uterus grows on other organs, especially in the pelvic and abdominal areas, causing intense inflammation and pain.


A typical case of the benefits the operating system can bring patients, includes a woman, who suffered severe pelvic pain, back pain, leg pain, cramps, mood swings and fatigue over the course of two years, with episodes lasting up to four months at a time. Medications and various other treatments failed to work.
   
So the woman opted for surgery.

“She wanted definitive therapy,” said gynecologist Mona Orady. “She wanted removal of her uterus and possibly her ovaries if they don’t look normal or if there is endometriosis present.” Orady advised a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive hysterectomy for Littleton, in which her uterus and ovaries would be removed – a procedure that would involve only four to six tiny incisions instead of the conventional 12-inch opening. She performed the surgery at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital using the da Vinci robotic system.
   
“The amount of pain, amount of bleeding is much less than an open hysterectomy or even a vaginal hysterectomy, the recovery time is shorter, so it’s overall probably the best option for her,” Orady said.
   
During the procedure, Orady sat at a console a few feet away from the woman, who was under sedation on the operating table, and manipulated hand and foot controls to guide the instruments that were excising the patient’s reproductive organs. The instruments, together with a high-definition, 3-D camera, were inserted into the woman’s abdomen through several small holes.

You have a lot more visualization,” Orady said. “There’s 10 times magnification, and also your hand movements are magnified three times. So for every centimeter that I move my hand, the robot takes that down to a third of a centimeter.” She praised the new technique as being far more precise than conventional surgery.

The woman spent two days in the hospital and recovered well at home.


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