Hysterectomies can be performed abdominally, vaginally, laparoscopically, or robotically. The doctor will evaluate the patient’s history and condition to determine the best method of hysterectomy. Emory Healthcare has surgeons who are well-trained in performing all types of hysterectomy, including robotic hysterectomies.
Many patients wish to pursue a robotic hysterectomy because it is a minimally invasive option, meaning that there will be minimal scarring and recovery is generally much quicker than a traditional open surgery. A robotic hysterectomy is also a good option for women with prior surgical complications or specific conditions that may complicate wound healing, such as diabetes and obesity.
A robotic hysterectomy is performed while the patient is under anesthesia. The surgeon makes a few tiny incisions in the abdomen for a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera at its end) and the robotic arms. Gas is inserted into the abdomen so that there is space for the surgeon to maneuver.
The surgeon then controls the robot’s movements to remove the uterus and the cervix. The robotic arms mimic the surgeon’s moves. If necessary, the doctor can also perform an oophorectomy, which removes the ovaries, or a salpingectomy, which removes the fallopian tubes, during the robotic hysterectomy. These procedures are often needed if the patient is at risk for ovarian cancer. The incisions are then closed with a small amount of glue or just one or two stitches at each site.
By using a robot to perform a hysterectomy, the surgeon can make more precise movements, some of which are difficult to make with the human hand. The robot’s equipment also provides the doctor with a three-dimensional picture and a much better visualization of the pelvic organs and surrounding structures. With this level of vision and control, the surgeon can perform a procedure that remains as minimally invasive as possible.