Robotic Surgery for Gynecologic, Prostate, Kidney and Other Disorders

In recent years, robotic surgery has become an alternative to standard open surgery as well as standard laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedures. Several surgeons at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center are trained in robotic surgery, which means they can operate a highly advanced technological surgical system that may provide even further benefits to those already experienced by patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery.

da Vinci® Surgical System

The da Vinci® Surgical System, the robotic system used by doctors at Spring Valley Hospital, uses advanced robotic technology to provide a 3D depth of field and allow a surgeon's hand movements to be translated into precise micro-movements of tiny instruments at the operative site. High-definition visualization enables the surgeon to perform complex procedures through dime-sized operating "ports" in the body. Currently, Spring Valley Hospital surgeons are using robotic surgery for gynecologic procedures, prostate surgery, kidney surgery, gallbladder surgery and other procedures. Potential benefits of minimally invasive robotic surgery over open surgery include a shorter hospital stay, less post-operative pain, quicker recovery, less risk of infection and less scarring.

Robotic Gynecologic Surgery

For some women, robotic gynecologic surgery may be a good alternative to open surgery or standard laparoscopic procedures. Open gynecologic surgery, in which a large incision is made in the abdomen so a surgeon can access the uterus and surrounding anatomy, has been the standard approach to gynecologic procedures for years. However, open surgery can cause significant pain, physical trauma and a long recovery process. The potential advantages of laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and other gynecologic procedures over conventional open surgery include smaller incisions, which may result in less post-operative pain, reduced blood loss and less need for blood transfusions, and a potentially faster recovery and return to normal activities.

Single-Site Robotic Hysterectomy

With standard robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy, surgeons typically remove the uterus through three small incisions in the abdomen. With technological advances, the uterus can now also be removed through a single, small incision in the navel (belly button). Single-site procedures allow for virtually scarless results, with patients often experiencing less blood loss and less trauma to the body. 

Robotic Prostate Surgery

Studies indicate that one of the most effective treatments for prostate cancer is radical prostatectomy - surgical removal of the prostate and surrounding cancerous tissues. US surgeons generally use one of three approaches: open surgery (which requires a large incision in the patient's abdomen) or laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery - both of which are minimally invasive procedures.

Regardless of the surgical method, the surgeon's goal is the same: remove the prostate gland from the surrounding tissue. The seminal vesicles, two small fluid-filled sacs next to the prostate, are also removed. The surgeon's goal is to cause as little damage as possible to nerves and blood vessels in the surrounding area.

The potential advantages of laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy over conventional open surgery include smaller incisions, which may result in less post-operative pain, reduced blood loss and less need for blood transfusions and a potentially faster recovery and return to normal activities.

Robotic Kidney Surgery

The kidneys are two fist-sized organs located near the middle of  the back, just below the rib cage. Kidneys remove waste products and extra water, which become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters to the bladder. Kidneys can become damaged by several conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, cysts, stones and infections. Genetic problems, injuries and medicines can also cause chronic kidney problems.

Many kidney surgeries have required removal of the entire kidney, called a radical nephrectomy, which is an open procedure that requires a 6- to 8-inch incision. But even partial nephrectomy, in which part of the kidney is removed, has required an open procedure. This means that patients have not, until recently, had the option of laparoscopic surgery, which is minimally-invasive surgery using small incisions.

The da Vinci® Surgical System, which is used at Spring Valley Hospital, is used to perform robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery for kidney patients. Because of the precision of this type of laparoscopic surgery, kidney patients now have a laparoscopic option both for radical and partial nephrectomy.

Single-Site Robotic Gallbladder Surgery

Treatment for gallbladder disease generally includes lifestyle and dietary changes and medication. However, in some cases, doctors recommend cholecystectomy - which is surgery to remove the gallbladder.

Although minimally invasive cholecystectomy has been used for several years, a new surgical refinement, in which only one incision - in the navel (belly button) - is made to perform the surgery. Doctors at Spring Valley Hospital use the da Vinci® Xi Surgical System, a refinement to the standard da Vinci system. Because there is only a single, small incision, patients often experience less trauma to the body and less blood loss during the procedure surgery. This means they may recover more quickly and return to work and daily activities faster than they would with conventional surgery.

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