This summer, Dr. Albert Pisani, one of the country’s leading gynecological surgeons, marked an important milestone: 500 procedures performed with the da Vinci robotic system, a feat that is well above the national average for robotic gynecological surgery.
As the surgical department celebrated this achievement, our hospital took some time to reflect on what this means for our patients. Why is the da Vinci system becoming such a popular surgical tool for women’s reproductive health?
Here’s what Dr. Pisani and colleague Dr. Dwight Chen have to say on the topic.
What is the difference between traditional surgery and surgery with the da Vinci system?
In traditional surgery, a scalpel is used to make a very long incision. The drawbacks of this approach are fairly obvious--a longer recovery, more pain and an increased risk of infection.
What we’re doing now is essentially the same type of surgery but with very small incisions. That approach results in less pain for the patient and a quicker return to normal activities. Instead of having a large incision, patients have just four or five tiny incisions. And patients typically go home the next day.
What are the advantages from a surgical perspective?
What’s different about the da Vinci system is that surgeons now have 3-D visualization and instruments that are “wristed.” This allows us to accomplish more and gives us a greater degree of freedom, meaning we can do things like get around corners when operating.
What surgeries are performed with the da Vinci?
Surgeries we perform for cancers of the reproductive tract include:
- Radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer
- Hysterectomy with lymph node removal for endometrial or cervical cancer
- Ovarian tumor removal and staging
Surgeries we perform for non-cancerous conditions include:
- Fibroid removal
- Heavy bleeding
- Pelvic reconstruction for pelvic prolapse
Is experience important when using this type of system?
As with anything, the more you do, the better you become at it. In this instance, a surgeon who has had 500 robotic gynecological cases is well above the national average.
But not only is the surgeon’s experience important, the whole team needs to be experienced as well, including the nurses and the scrub technicians.
If you’re considering this type of surgery, be sure that both your surgeon and your hospital have the level of experience necessary so that you can have the best possible outcome.
See more information on the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System for women.