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Surgeons use a robot to perform OBGYN surgery.

Minimally Invasive, Robotic-Assisted Surgery Improves OBGYN Patient Outcomes

Nov 20, 2020

With robotic-assisted surgeries, St. Joseph Health patients are gaining the benefits of minimally invasive surgery with smaller incisions and reduced recovery time.

Robotic Surgery: The Wave of the Future

“We’re doing more complex cases and improving the percentage of minimally invasive surgeries across the board,” said Dr. Janelle Perrone, an OBGYN with Brazos Valley Women’s Center in Bryan. “Our practice’s percentage of laparoscopic surgeries is over 90 percent with a large percentage being robotic surgery. It is definitely the wave of the future.”

The robotic system at St. Joseph Health consists of four, thin robotic arms inserted into strategically placed incisions just one-half centimeter to one centimeter long. The surgeon operates while seated at a console unit, using hand and foot controls, with a magnified 3D, high-definition view of the surgical field.

The Benefits of Robotic Gynecologic Surgery

Over the last decade, robotic-assisted surgery has substantially changed the way Dr. Perrone and her team handles hysterectomies and complex gynecological cases. The Brazos Valley Women’s Center’s team of five surgeons performs a variety of gynecological surgeries at St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital.

Dr. Perrone said as a result patients generally have a shorter hospital stay, less postoperative pain, and lower risk of complications—like infection, bleeding, blood clots, and wound complications—than they would have with traditional, open surgery.

“The benefits for the OBGYN is that we have less fatigue during surgery and better dexterity with the arms,” said Dr. Perrone. “This gives us wrists and elbows for added precision, as opposed to doing traditional laparoscopy. And we have the advantage of 3D vision through the physician control console. Robotic surgery is more efficient and can help prevent complications with the right surgeon.”

Performing Complex Gynecological Procedures With a Robot 

In today’s practice, hysterectomies are now largely done on an outpatient basis, and many patients are able to go home the same day with fewer medications than they would have with open surgery. Recovery time varies based on the type of surgery, but patients are up and moving a few hours after surgery and returning to their normal jobs sooner. Patients can often return to their desk jobs one to two weeks after their robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgeries.

The system also gives the Women’s Center the ability to use robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery for complex cases, such as an enlarged uterus with fibroids, endometriosis, or prolapse. When appropriate, the team can also perform robotic, laparoscopic surgery for pregnant women.

Advancements in robotic-assisted surgery allow the Brazos Valley Women’s Center team and other surgical groups at St. Joseph Health to bring new treatment options to a larger group of patients. This is one important way we demonstrate our commitment to quality, patient-centered care.