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Less is more: Robotic surgery options for gynecology patients

From puberty to pregnancy to aging, a woman’s reproductive organs undergo multiple changes over time. Gynecological health is extremely important for women of all ages and conditions, and it can also significantly impact health and quality of life.

Surgical methods continue to evolve and advance through new techniques and technology.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System—the latest da Vinci model—was designed with the goal of further advancing the technology used in minimally invasive surgery, including gynecological procedures.

Conditions treated

Any procedure done laparoscopically, and the majority of procedures historically performed abdominally, can now be performed robotically, including:

  • Hysterectomy.
  • Treatment of endometriosis, a condition that affects 30 percent of women.
  • Lysis of adhesions, a procedure that removes soft scar tissue to treat or prevent complications.
  • Ovarian cystectomies.
  • Sacrocolpopexy: Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Surgery for cervical cancers, endometrial cancers and lymphatic staging.
  • Appendectomy.

Treating pelvic organ prolapse and endometriosis

Sacrocolpopexy is the gold-standard treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, which includes the uterus, bladder and vaginal walls. Having the capability to perform this procedure robotically at Shannon, combined with new, advanced materials, is extremely beneficial for patients.

Thirty percent of women have some element of endometriosis, a painful condition in which the endometrium tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Most often this condition affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes and tissue lining the pelvis, but it can affect areas beyond the pelvic organs. This multifaceted disease causes extreme pain and can interfere with fertility. Fortunately, robotic surgical capabilities are helping make this condition easier to treat.

Previously, the surgeon might only be able to remove the known, existing endometriosis lesions. Using Firefly, a feature of the da Vinci Xi System, surgeons switch from standard to near-infrared vision with the use of an injectable fluorescent dye. When Firefly is switched on, the surgeon sees the areas with blood flow as green and the areas without as gray, allowing them to evaluate major ductal areas, vessels and blood flow in real-time. For endometriosis procedures, the surgeon is able to view and easily remove the existing lesions along with those that are early-stage and microscopic.

Advantages for the surgeon and patient

Robotic surgery for the patient means:

  • Recovery is much smoother.
  • Hospital stays are shorter.
  • Less pain medication is required after surgery.
  • Less tissue is destroyed with the robotic technique, and the statistic of less pain and blood loss has been proven through multiple studies.
  • The risk of having to convert to an open procedure is also significantly reduced.

The surgeon is in complete control of the robotic-assisted da Vinci Xi System, which translates hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of the miniscule instruments inside the patient’s body. Four to five small incisions, 5 to 10 millimeters in size, are made during the operation to accommodate the instruments.

The system is laser-guided and is placed in the precise location before the operation begins. The surgeon fully controls the da Vinci System through a console beside the operating table. The Xi System’s immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, ten times that of the naked eye, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient. The wristarticulated instruments function like a human wrist, with seven planes of movement.

All of these features combined help minimize the risk to the patient.

Know your options

Your OB-GYN will discuss your surgical options with you and determine the most appropriate path for you and your health.

For more information, please visit or call 325.481.2285.

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