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Highland Introduces Scarless Hysterectomy Surgery

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Highland Hospital recently became the first hospital in the region to offer virtually scarless gynecologic surgery with the use of Single-Site™ Instrumentation on one of its two daVinci® surgical robots.

On August 23, gynecologic surgeons Oona Lim and Coral Surgeon performed the region’s first single-site robotic hysterectomy, leaving only an incision of 2.5 cm (less than an inch) inside the woman’s navel.

The Single-Site™ technique is more advanced than traditional four-incision robotic procedures used to date. It has received FDA approval for benign gynecologic procedures as well as cholecystectomy (gall bladder) surgery. On August 12, Highland’s Chief of Surgery, Joseph Johnson, M.D. performed the hospital’s first single-site gallbladder surgery.

Only a few programs nationwide are using single-site technology for gynecology cases. Highland was first in the region to offer this option.

“This is an exciting addition to the capabilities that robotic surgery gives to surgeons and their patients,” says Dr. Lim. “With robotic surgery, we’re able to make smaller incisions so there’s less blood loss during surgery and fewer complications. Patients go home the next day. They require less pain medication and their recovery time is better, so they can return to work and to their lives much faster.”

“The single-site approach takes the many benefits of robotic surgery a step further by reducing the number of incisions from four to one,” adds Dr. Surgeon. “This is much more than a cosmetic improvement for the patient. The more incisions you have, the more post-operative pain the patient can experience. The location of incisions also is a factor; incisions that are lateral (on the side of the body) tend to cause more pain than those that are medial (in the center of the abdomen). So using the navel as the port of entry reduces the likelihood of pain and improves the patient’s recovery.”

Traditionally, robotic surgery is performed by a surgeon who sits at a console controlling the movements of four robotic arms inserted through ports placed in the patient’s body through four half-inch incisions. Three of the arms are fitted with a variety of instruments and the fourth controls a high-definition, three-dimensional camera that transmits images to the console. At the console, the surgeon controls the movement of the robotic arms and performs the procedure.

With Single-Site Instrumentation, procedures are conducted through just one port inserted through the patient’s navel. This technology allows all the instruments for surgery, including a three-dimensional camera, three surgical instruments and one assist instrument, to pass through a single incision. The more slender instruments, along with the benefits of robotic assistance, promise to make the surgery even less invasive for the patient.

“Highland is very pleased to introduce single-site gynecologic surgery to the region and make this option available to patients,” says Chief of Surgery Joseph Johnson, M.D.. “The addition of this technology to our program enables surgeons to offer the very latest advances in robotic surgery to our patients. Drs. Lim and Surgeon were selected to launch this service at Highland based on their extensive experience; both have been performing robotic surgery since the first daVinci came to Highland in 2009.”

The new instrumentation is one of the latest additions to the robotic surgery program at Highland, which acquired its second daVinci in 2011. Highland is recognized for its leadership in robotic procedures; it is one of the top hospitals in the state in the number of minimally invasive, robotic surgeries for gynecologic cancer performed each year. Highland uses robotic technology for gynecologic, colorectal, urology, cholecystectomy and Nissen Fundoplication procedures. Surgeons performed 719 robotic procedures at Highland in 2012 and 543 to date in 2013.

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