Even when a hysterectomy is the best treatment option, making the decision is agonizing. The choice is even harder when getting a hysterectomy means undergoing open surgery and a slow recovery.
Here at Fred A. Williams, MD, we can make the process a little easier thanks to technological advances like minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery. Hysterectomies have definitely come a long way, and Dr. Williams is keeping up with the times, offering his patients robotic options that reduce surgical risks and get them home the same day as their surgery.
The first step: Minimally invasive versus open surgery
When you get a hysterectomy using open surgery, the procedure is done through one long incision, typically a cut that’s 5-7 inches long. The extensive incision is needed for your surgeon to see the uterus and have enough space to perform the surgery.
Open surgery increases your risk of complications, like bleeding. Following open surgery, you must stay in the hospital several days and then you’ll need to limit your activities for about 4-6 weeks while your incision heals and your body recovers from the trauma.
Compare that with minimally invasive surgery, which uses a few small incisions, about a quarter-inch long. Dr. Williams performs your hysterectomy by inserting narrow tubes through the incisions and using high-tech tools specially designed to fit through the tubes.
The most important tool is a laparoscope, which contains lighting and a tiny camera that sends magnified images to a monitor. As a result, Dr. Williams has a better view of the surgical site than he could get with open surgery.
The small incisions used during a laparoscopic procedure don’t cause the same trauma as open surgery. As a result, you gain benefits such as:
- Less bleeding
- Lower risk of complications
- Less postoperative pain
- Quicker recovery
- Minimal scarring
- Outpatient surgery
Minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopic surgery, was a huge step forward in the evolution of hysterectomies, but the advancements didn’t end there.
A giant leap forward: Robot-assisted surgery improves on laparoscopy
Robotic surgery is laparoscopic surgery taken to the next level. The robotic movements are entirely controlled by Dr. Williams, but at the same time, the robotic enhancements allow him to perform hysterectomies with precision and dexterity that exceeds human capabilities.
Dr. Williams perform robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Here’s a rundown on how robotic surgery works.
The da Vinci system has three pieces of advanced equipment. One piece is the monitor that receives and displays images from the laparoscope. A second device looks futuristic, as it contains the interactive robotic arms that hold all the tools.
The final piece of equipment is command central, or what’s officially called the surgeon’s console. Dr. Williams sits at the console, views the surgical site on the monitor and uses state-of-the-art hand and wrist controls that transmit his hand movements to the robotic arms.
Using the surgeon’s console, Dr. Williams performs your hysterectomy as though standing next to you manually controlling the surgical tools.
Hysterectomies have come a long way: Benefits of robotic surgery
The da Vinci robotic system together with Dr. William’s surgical expertise significantly improves on manual laparoscopic hysterectomies:
Better visual field
Through the imaging technology available with the da Vinci, Dr. Williams can see 3-D and high-definition images, along with the ability to zoom in for extreme visual clarity of the tiniest details.
The robotic arms controlled by Dr. Williams have a range of motion that’s superior to the human hand, which allows for more precise surgery.
The da Vinci’s EndoWrist™ instruments uniquely transform Dr. Williams’ hand and fingers into tiny surgical instruments (on the end of the robotic arms) that can reach spaces that are too small for a human hand.
Along with superior dexterity, the da Vinci is equipped with technology that eliminates the normal physiological tremors in the human hand. As a result, the robotic instruments execute movements with more control than the human hand.
If you need a hysterectomy, schedule an appointment with Fred A. Williams, MD, to learn whether you’re a good candidate for robotic surgery.