Recovery time is a major concern when women learn they need surgery, especially if they are caregivers and breadwinners. Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital is addressing this concern by offering the da Vinci® Si Surgical System, which utilizes state-of-the-art, robotic-assisted technology for minimally invasive surgery.
With robotic-assisted technology, surgeons operate from a console, viewing high-definition 3-D imagery of the surgical field and directing precise micro-movements of a surgical robot. Because smaller surgical incisions are used, patients typically experience shorter hospital stays, less pain and quicker recoveries. These procedures can help lower the risk of infection and minimize scarring.
Robotic Technology Offers Greater Range of Motion
Concepcion Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., and Jennifer Whitelock, M.D., Memorial Hermann Greater Heights-affiliated physicians, are among the physicians using this robotic-assisted technology to perform gynecological surgeries. Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, tops their list of the most commonly performed surgeries using robotic technology. Other procedures include removal of ovarian tumors, treatment of gynecological cancers, lymph node biopsies and fertility preservation surgery, to name a few.
Dr. Whitelock, an obstetrician-gynecologist, appreciates the robotic intuitive motion-control technology that mimics her natural movements more precisely.
“The robotic technology allows more freedom and range of motion,” says Dr. Whitelock. “Sitting at a console positions me in a more natural way to perform surgery, while my movements are translated to the robot in ultra-fine actions.”
Dr. Diaz-Arrastia, a gynecologist-oncologist can perform maneuvers with the robotic-assisted technology that are simply impossible with conventional laparoscopic tools, enabling her to obtain representative lymph node tissue samples while performing surgery to treat uterine or cervical cancer.
“With this technology, we can perform a hysterectomy in a minimally invasive way with five incisions that are under one-half inch each, which means patients usually go home within 24 hours of surgery,” says Dr. Diaz-Arrastia.
Another procedure that Dr. Diaz-Arrastia performs with robotic-assisted technology is a trachelectomy, or fertility preservation surgery. Used to treat early cervical cancer, this procedure removes the cervix and upper part of the vagina while preserving the uterus. As a result, women retain the ability to become pregnant.
Determining Good Candidates For Robotic-Assisted Surgery
Drs. Diaz-Arrastia and Whitelock evaluate patients individually to determine if they qualify for this surgery. Some factors may discourage the use of robotic-assisted technology. “Bad lungs caused by smoking, high body mass index and large specimen removal are generally the reasons we are unable to perform gynecological surgeries with robotic-assisted technology,” says Dr. Diaz-Arrastia.
Cutting-Edge Technology Close To Home
Dr. Whitelock holds a special interest in robotic technology, having been introduced to it during her residency training program.
“If the patient is appropriate for this surgery, it’s better for them in comparison to an open procedure,” she says.
Dr. Diaz-Arrastia feels it’s wonderful to have this modern technology conveniently located at a community hospital such as Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, saying “I’m a big believer that patients belong close to home.”
To learn more about this service, call 713.222.CARE, or visit memorialhermann.org.