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What is robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

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What is robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

If you need a hysterectomy, your physician might suggest considering robotic-assisted surgery.

In contrast to traditional approaches, robotic-assisted hysterectomy allows surgeons to perform the procedure through small incisions in your body using robotic arms that are fully controlled by the surgeon.

Surgeons use the robotic system to better visualize the surgical site and perform delicate maneuvers that would be difficult with other approaches. The surgeon manipulates the machine’s instruments, directing the robot what to do.

“It is an excellent option for many women,” says Tidelands Health OB/GYN Dr. Monica Selander, who practices at Tidelands Health OB/GYN. “With a traditional hysterectomy, you get a large incision, significant blood loss and more pain around the incision site. Those can be tough recoveries and hard to go through.”

Dr. Monica Selander

Listen in

Listen in to this Better Health Podcast as Tidelands Health OB/GYN Monica Selander discusses the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery for women's health.

Tidelands Health, our region’s leading health care provider, offers state-of-the-art robotic-assisted surgical systems at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. The technology is used for multiple different types of surgeries, including gallbladder and colon procedures, as well as urological and gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies.

“When people hear robot, they want to know if you’re in the room,” Dr. Selander says. “Once you explain the system and they understand that the robot doesn’t act independently of the surgeon, that it does exactly what my hands are doing and what I’m telling it to do, they become more comfortable with it.”

Reasons for hysteroctomy

Hysterectomies may be needed to treat uterine fibroids, heavy menstrual periods, cancer and endometriosis. If conventional methods like birth control or hormone treatments fail, a hysterectomy often becomes the next option for women.
There are different types of hysterectomies. The most common approach involves removing the uterus and cervix.

During robotic-assisted hysterectomy, the surgeon:

  1. Makes tiny incisions in the body near the belly button.
  2. Inserts miniature laparoscopic instruments and a tiny but powerful camera through the incisions.
  3. Sits at a computer console to perform the procedure. The console provides 10-times magnification of the surgery in progress.
  4. Manipulates the robotic instruments while sitting at the console. The instruments translate the surgeon’s movements into precise, real-time movements inside the body.
  5. Closes the incisions with sutures.

Many benefits

Robotic-assisted hysterectomies offer patients numerous benefits. Robotic hysterectomies can result in:

  • Less pain and need for post-operative pain medications
  • Decreased blood loss
  • Faster recoveries
  • Smaller, less prominent scars

Surgeons also reap the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery with better visual acuity, increased dexterity and better instruments.

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“It gives us a 3D view and has incredible laparoscopic tools that don’t fog up,” explains Dr. Selander. “It gives us the ability to see the operative field and enables us to be more precise with our movements.”

Because of the system’s precision, there is typically less injury to surrounding tissue and organs, which can result in less bleeding, trauma and pain for the patient.

“The system itself eliminates the natural tremor that comes with being a human,” Dr. Selander says. “Even the steadiest surgeon has a natural tremor. That’s eliminated with the robot. So, it brings your operation and technique up another level in accuracy and precision.”

What to expect

Because the approach minimizes damage to the skin and other tissue, robotic-assisted hysterectomies typically require shorter hospital stays, less recovery time afterwards and a reduced need for post-operative pain medications.

“If I had to have a hysterectomy, I’d want the surgeon to use this system,” Dr. Selander adds. “It gives an advantage to the patient and the surgeon. It gives everybody the best chance for a successful surgery and the best possible outcome.”

Tidelands Health OB/GYN Dr. Monica Selander offers care at Tidelands Health Women’s Center.

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