Minimally invasive gynecological procedures are performed through small incisions (the thickness of a pencil or ink marker) to allow faster recovery, reduce postoperative pain, and minimize scarring of both the skin and inside surfaces of the abdomen.
Here at NorthShore University HealthSystem, the Division of Gynecological Pain and Minimally Invasive Surgery incorporates the newest surgical approach to common gynecologic procedures - the da Vinci® system (Intuitive Surgical, Mountain View, CA – www.intuitivesurgical.com). The da Vinci® robot enhances performance of standard open procedures; procedures that would normally require one incision four to six inches wide are accomplished through 4-5 small incisions one-quarter to one-half inch each. As a result, patients can go home the same day or the next after procedures which normally require a three to four day hospital stay.
The robot-controlled videocamera, two robotic manipulating arms, and one to two assisting instruments are passed through these incisions. A surgical cart with the robot arms attached sits at the patient’s bedside. The surgeon sits at an adjacent console in the operating room manipulating the robot arms and directing the camera with hand-controls, while looking at the operative field with an immersive 3-dimensional view.
Advantages of laparoscopic gynecological procedures (hysterectomy, myomectomy, or removal of peritoneal lesions) include a lack of large incisions, magnified vision, improved cosmetic result, reduced blood loss, and much improved post-operative disability.
Also, the robot provides a unique advanctage in the assistance of precise suturing. The ends of the robotic arms are like miniature wrists that allow very fine movements. The natural rotational movements at the instrument’s “wrists” (supination/pronation) are helpful to thread a needle and suture tissue - movements which are much harder to perform using regular laparoscopic instruments.
Our fellowship-trained surgeons have extensive experience both in performing these procedures (having performed over one hundred cases with the robot) and teaching other surgeons how to operate laparoscopically. Dr. Sangeeta Senapati proctors gynecologists around the country who are learning to use the robot for complex surgeries. An initial consult with either Dr. Senapati or Dr. Tu can determine whether laparoscopic or robot-assisted surgery is best for you.