da Vinci Robotic Surgery
Expands Options for Women
Angela Tirion wanted to have a baby.
Five years ago, the then 31-year old discovered fibroids in her uterus and underwent a “hysteroscopy” procedure to remove fibroids using a vaginal approach. She was told this would not impact her ability to conceive or carry to term.
However in early 2009, after experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding and discomfort, a sonogram found more fibroids – several small ones and one the size of a large orange. Her doctor told her she needed another surgical procedure. This time, however, Angela was concerned: another procedure might leave her uterine wall weakened, making it difficult to carry a baby to full term.
“Since I work in the medical field, I had heard about robot-assisted myomectomy surgery,” explains Angela. “I learned using a robot allowed my surgeon to suture my uterus back together in three layers, to make it stronger and enable me to carry a baby to full term.”
“A myomectomy to remove fibroids and rebuild the uterine wall can, of course, be done with traditional “open” surgery,” says Angela’s da Vinci robotic-certified surgeon, Leslie Kardos, M.D., Chief of Gynecology and Director of Robotic Gynecology at California Pacific Medical Center. “But open surgery requires a five-inch incision, several days in the hospital and eight weeks of recovery, as opposed to the very small one- to two-centimeter incisions and two-week recovery for robotic surgery, which often does not require staying overnight in the hospital.”
Angela had da Vinci robotic surgery in March 2009 in San Francisco, California, and went home the same day. Within a couple of days, she was working from home. After a couple of weeks, she was able to drive to work again and resume her normal activities. Best of all, the 36-year-old woman became pregnant in November and gave birth to her first child in August.
Dr. Kardos says there are many differences between robotic, open and laparoscopic surgery – for both the surgeon and the patient. “With laparoscopy, from the surgeon’s perspective, I view the surgical site via a two-dimensional screen and my surgical instruments are straight and inflexible. But with robotic surgery, I get a three-dimensional view, and the tips of the instruments rotate like a wrist, enabling me to perform more delicate movements in small spaces.”
Beth Mersky, another myomectomy patient, confirms the benefits of robotic surgery. “I was referred to an OB/GYN specialist when fibroids were found during my annual exam. The size of the fibroids were so large that the specialist referred me to Dr. Katherine Hsiao, who performs robotic surgery.”
Hsiao explained all the surgical options. “Dr. Hsiao recommended da Vinci robotic surgery because it was less invasive and provided better repair of the uterus, which was a consideration because I would still like to have children,” Beth explains. “I had a quick two-week recovery after my surgery in April, which was performed as a same-day procedure.”
In addition to an easier and quicker recovery, the potential benefits to patients of having da Vinci robotic surgery include less pain and fewer and smaller scars.
“I went back to work one week after my robot-assisted hysterectomy, and two weeks later I was in Hawaii in a bikini!” laughs ‘Gina,’ a 50-year old patient. “Plus, I’m self-employed, so I couldn’t afford to take six weeks off from work, which is needed with a traditional hysterectomy procedure.”
Surgeon Heidi Wittenberg, M.D., notes that robotic surgery is often a good option for older patients – even those who are 80+ years old. “The great thing about robotic procedures is that you can get older patients up and going again quickly. I’ve performed open and laparoscopic surgeries as well as robotic surgeries, and I think the robot makes a huge difference in patients’ recovery. Older women frequently have been told that they are ‘too old’ for surgery when they were facing an open surgery with a long recovery time. That’s not necessarily the case with robotic surgery.”
CPMC has invested in the most updated surgical robot, the da Vinci Si, to assist specially-trained surgeons with myomectomies as well as a variety of other gynecologic conditions, such as hysterectomies, removal of the ovaries or ovarian cysts, treatment for endometriosis and uterine prolapse.
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About Robotic Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System at CPMC San Francisco
San Francisco residents as well as people who come from all over the United States know that CPMC’s top surgeons are among the best in the San Francisco Bay area at performing da Vinci Robot-assisted surgeries. In fact, CPMC’s gynecologists perform more da Vinci Robot-assisted surgeries than any other San Francisco Bay Area doctors. Robotic surgery such as the da Vinci surgical system is now the gold standard of treatment for many conditions. Our commitment is to be one of the best robotic and da Vinci surgery centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, and in the United States and to work with our patients to determine the best treatment options, including minimally invasive robotic surgery using the top-rated da Vinci robot. Our Robotic Surgery Department serves the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco and Marin County, as well as the entire Northern California region with da Vinci certified surgeons.
Note: da Vinci takes its name from Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci the famous Italian artist and scientist. “da Vinci” may be misspelled as one word, daVinci, as in daVinci robotic surgery, or daVinci surgery, or daVinci certified surgeon, but the correct spelling is two words, da Vinci.
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