Robotic Hysterectomy – The Future is Here

dr kent kuswanto robotic hysterectomy

Robotic Hysterectomy – The Future is Here

What is Robotic Hysterectomy?

Robotic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgery in which a robotic surgical system is used to remove the uterus. The robotic surgical system is deployed to control miniaturised surgical instruments through small incisions in the abdomen. The robotic system also provides a magnified, 3D high-definition view of the surgical field, and the surgeon controls the robotic arms and instruments from a console in the operating room.

During a robotic hysterectomy, the gynaecologic surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and inserts the robotic arms and surgical instruments through the incisions. The surgeon then uses the robotic system to remove the uterus, while viewing the surgical field on a 3D high-resolution monitor. The robotic instruments are more flexible and have a greater range of motion than traditional laparoscopic instruments, allowing for more precise movements and better surgical control. This allows more complex cases to be performed through a minimally invasive route.

Robotic hysterectomy offers several potential benefits over traditional open or laparoscopic surgery. These include smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.

History of Robotic Surgery and its use in Gynaecology

Robotic surgery began in the 1980s, when the first robotic surgical system was developed by the US military for remote surgery on battlefields. In the 1990s, this technology was adapted for use in civilian medical settings, and the first robotic surgical systems were used in prostate surgery. The use of robotic systems to perform prostate surgery in men is well established and widely available in Australia.

In gynaecology, the first robotic-assisted procedures were performed in the early 2000s, and robotic surgery has since become an integral tool for gynaecologic surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System, the most widely used robotic surgical system, received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for gynaecologic surgery in 2005.

The use of robotic surgery in gynaecology has grown exponentially over the past decade. Today, robotic hysterectomy is one of the most common gynaecologic procedures performed using robotic technology. Other gynaecologic procedures that can be performed using robotic surgery include myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroids), sacrocolpopexy (repair of pelvic organ prolapse), treatment of endometriosis and gynaecologic cancers.

It is important to note that robotic surgery is not always the best option for every patient. Each patient’s unique individual medical history and circumstances should be taken into account when determining the best course of treatment. Robotic surgery should only be performed by skilled and experienced surgeons who are trained in the use of the robotic system.

Challenges to accessing Robotic Hysterectomy

Accessing robotic hysterectomy can be challenging due to cost, lack of availability, expertise and awareness.

Robotic surgical systems are expensive to purchase and maintain, and not all hospitals may have the financial resources to invest in this technology. As such, private hospitals or larger medical centres are more likely to have the funding and infrastructure to support these technologies than those in the public sector.

While robotic surgery is becoming increasingly common, not all hospitals or surgeons have access to the technology. This therefore limits the availability of robotic hysterectomy to patients. It also contributes to longer wait times for those seeking care.

Even when the technology is available, there may be limitations on its use due to training and expertise. Robotic surgery requires specialized training and experience, and not all surgeons may have the necessary skills to perform these procedures.

Patient awareness also remains to be a major hurdle in accessing robotic hysterectomy. Some patients may not be aware of the latest technologies available for hysterectomy and may not know to ask about these options when seeking treatment.

Improving access to robotic hysterectomy requires a combination of financial resources, expertise, and patient awareness to achieve widespread adoption of this technology. As more gynaecologic surgeons become trained in robotic surgery and the cost of the technology reduces, it is likely that robotic hysterectomy will become more widely available and accessible to patients.

How to access the most advanced robotic technologies in Gynaecology?

There are several ways to research and access robotic surgery for gynaecologic conditions.

Patients can start by looking for medical centres or hospitals that have robotic surgical systems, and whether they offer robotic surgery for gynaecologic conditions. Patients can do so through word of mouth, researching online, or asking their healthcare provider for a referral. Most major private hospitals in Melbourne have robotic surgical systems installed and available to use for their patients. There is currently no robotic system available for use in gynaecology in Victorian public hospitals.

Patients should also ask their healthcare provider about the availability of robotic surgery for their specific condition and discuss the benefits and risks of each option. If the gynaecologist does not offer this option, patients can be referred for a second opinion. Robotic surgery requires specialized training, so patients may need to seek out surgeons who are trained and experienced in this technique.

Patients should check with their insurance provider to see if robotic surgery is covered under their plan, and if there are any additional costs or requirements. Most (but not all) private health insurance providers now cover robotic surgery in gynaecology in many private hospitals in Melbourne.

Patients who live in areas where robotic surgery is not available may need to travel to access this treatment. In Melbourne, most major private hospitals have now installed robotic surgical systems. More are also getting installed in the larger regional private hospitals.

Accessing robotic surgery for gynaecologic conditions requires thorough research, communication with healthcare providers, and coordination with insurance providers to ensure that patients receive as much information as possible for the best possible care.


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