Robotic Gyn Surgery
Dr. Kerry Rodabaugh discusses new surgical options for women with endometrial or gynecologic cancer. Minimally invasive surgeries like those offered at The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha can greatly reduce hospital stay, and increase patient comfort.
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It’s phenomenal; it’s changed how we’ve practiced medicine.
We now are able to offer robotic surgery in dealing with early stage into endometrial cancer, some early stage ovarian cancers and some early stage cervical cancers. It should be the modality of choice for people with endometrial cancer and the reason for this is because of the significantly reduced recovery time. Patients will go home the very next day after surgery; as opposed to if they have a laparotomy with a large midline up and down incision, then they will spend four to six days in the hospital just recovering from the incision. So it’s the incision that makes the big difference.
I’ve had multiple patients go home from the hospital after a robotic procedure and not even fill their prescription for pain medication. It’s just a phenomenal difference in that they feel so much better. Basically what it is advanced laparoscopy and what laparoscopy is where we make multiple small incisions into the abdomen and we insert laparoscopic instruments that we can then manipulate. Well with robotic surgery, we take those laparoscopic instruments and attach them to a robot so that the surgeon is sitting at a console and manipulating the robotic arms. So that the robot is not the surgeon; your surgeon is your surgeon, just with the advanced management of computer technology. And the real advantage over general laparoscopy with robotic surgery is that the view that the surgeon has is three-dimensional and it’s magnified so that I can see very small blood vessels. So the blood loss with the robotic procedure is much less than with the laparoscopic or even an open procedure because I can cauterize tiny little capillaries before there’s any blood loss because the visualization is so enhanced.
It’s really kind of fun, because they’re just so amazed at how well they feel. If we do the robotic procedure in the morning, they’re eating lunch in the afternoon and ready to go home first thing in the morning. It’s really quite phenomenal.
They come in, they get their surgery, they’re home the next day, they’re feeling great; back to work in a couple of weeks (hopefully) and then on the road to recovery.
I would never offer this procedure if it was inferior from an oncology standpoint. We absolutely have to make certain that we’re achieving the same outcomes, because if it’s better for the patient to have a big incision, that’s what we’re going to do for the patient. But we’re able to do the exact same surgery through multiple small incisions than we are with a large incision. So it’s better for the patient all around and the oncology outcomes (the cancer outcomes) are the same.
My hope is that all intramutual cancers with the rare exception will be robotic candidates. It’s really kind of fun, because coming to the Nebraska Medical Center; they were very quick to get on the bandwagon with this technology. So they’ve been doing this technology for a very long time and we’ve now added a second robot, which has absolute newest available technology and it has a little more mobility and allows me to get into the upper abdomen so I can do the nodal dissections that I need to do for my particular set of patients. So we have the technology here and we’re really excited about that.
And it’s really wonderful to be able to give this option to patients because it’s just plain better.