What is da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery?

Robotic gynecologic surgery can be used to treat uterine, cervical, ovarian and other gynecological cancers.

Surgeons may use the da Vinci robot to perform a variety of gynecologic procedures such as, removing the uterus (hysterectomy), fibroid removal (myomectomy), lymph node removal in association with gynecologic cancers, and vaginal prolapse surgery.

Many patients and doctors prefer robotic surgery over open surgery due to the faster recovery period, fewer complications and shorter hospital stay after robotic surgery.

Who is a candidate for da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery?

Your Mercy Health cancer team will evaluate your case to determine if you are a candidate for robotic gynecologic surgery. Although the surgery offers many benefits over traditional surgery, not everyone is a candidate. You are not a candidate for da Vinci robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery if you are not a candidate for minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

Benefits of da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery

Robotic gynecologic surgery has many advantages over more traditional gynecological surgeries. Advantages include:

  • Better visualization of the patient’s anatomy for more precise surgical movements
  • Less pain and blood loss during and after surgery
  • Quicker return to day-to-day activities
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less scarring
  • Fewer complications

What are the risks of da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery?

Although robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy is generally safe, complications can occur.  Your surgeon will outline all the potential risks before proceeding with the surgery. Complications may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Internal organ damage
  • Blood clots that could lead to a pulmonary embolism
  • Risks related to longer procedure time

What to expect during da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery?

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic gynecologic surgery is performed under general anesthesia. You will likely be given antibiotics to prevent infection, may need a catheter to drain urine during the procedure and may need special compression stockings to prevent blood clots.

During the procedure, your doctor will make three to four small incisions in the abdomen where he or she will insert a laparoscope and other surgical instruments. The instruments are attached to a robot that your surgeon will operate. When in position, your surgeon will remove the uterus and potentially the ovaries and fallopian tubes during the same procedure. Once the procedure is complete, your surgeon will stitch it back together and cover with dressings.

The procedure takes three to four hours to complete.

Recovery from da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery

After surgery, you will likely stay in the hospital a few days before being discharged. Once you are cleared to go home, your doctor will give you detailed discharge instructions including:
  • Follow-up appointment schedule
  • Pain management options 
  • Future treatment schedule
  • Return to your normal diet gradually
  • Keep incision site dry for a few days following surgery
  • Walk around and gradually increase your activity level
  • Avoid heavy lifting

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling from incision areas
  • Fever
  • Abnormally heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Pain in your legs 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

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