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Robotic-Assisted Reproductive Surgery
Robotic-assisted surgery is a specialized form of minimally invasive surgery that is rapidly evolving. This state-of-the-art technology has the ability to broaden the scope of minimally invasive surgery by offering a means to perform larger and more complex surgeries that, until now, could only be approached through open incisions. The robot allows the surgeon to reproduce movements and techniques that one would perform during open surgery, allowing him or her to achieve the same favorable results with a minimally invasive approach. This is particularly important with reproductive surgeries that require reconstruction of a woman’s uterus, such as after the removal of large uterine fibroids (myomectomy). In these circumstances, repair of the uterus must be both precise and strong in order to restore fertility and carry a pregnancy to term.
Figure 1: Surgeon sits at a console to manipulate the robot
arms. All images courtesy of intuitivesurgical.com,
makers of the da Vinci surgical system.
Robotic-assisted reproductive surgery uses four to five small incisions (one-quarter to one-half inch each) in the lower abdomen and pelvis. A robot-controlled video camera, two or three robotic manipulating arms as well as conventional laparoscopic assisting instruments are then passed through these incisions. The surgeon sits at a console to manipulate the robot arms and direct the camera with hand-controls, while looking at the operative field with an immersive high definition 3-D view (Figure 1). The ends of the robotic arms, unlike conventional laparoscopic instruments, allow for articulation like miniature wrists, allowing very fine and coordinated movements that mimic the surgeon’s hands, while providing enhanced dexterity (Figures 2 and 3). These capabilities allow robotic-assisted surgery to achieve the same results as open surgery, while maintaining all the benefits of a minimally invasive approach.
Figure 2: The ends of the robotic
arms allow for articulation like
Figure 3: The very fine and coordinated
movements mimic the surgeon’s hands.
Strong Fertility Center is a regional leader as it is the only fertility center in central and western New York to offer robotic-assisted surgery to improve reproductive outcomes.