Using the da Vinci® Robotic System for Gynecologic Surgery such as Hysterectomy & Sacrocolpopexy Cont.

In comparison, surgeons reach the surgical site during a traditional hysterectomy either through the vagina or the abdominal wall, resulting in more disruption to muscle and tissues and less visually-aided precision. Robot-assisted surgery involves smaller incisions and blood loss, which means the patient feels better and recovers faster, Dr. Grover says.

During a da Vinci-assisted hysterectomy, the uterus is either removed through the vagina or in strips through the ports. "You can remove a uterus the size of a grapefruit through an opening the size of a quarter," Dr. Grover says.

Because of her cancer and childbirth history, Beckman and Dr. Grover decided a hysterectomy was the best choice. But Dr. Grover can use the da Vinci system to remove fibroids, relatively common benign uterine growths, while leaving the uterus intact.

Benefits of Robotic Hysterectomy

With da Vinci, patients and employers benefit, Dr. Grover says. "Patients are going home sometimes the same day, and I have patients back to work in six to seven days." In comparison, open hysterectomy patients, who have a 10- to 15-centimeter incision, are in the hospital two to three days and off work four to six weeks.

"I expected to have a lot of pain, and I hardly had any," Beckman says. "I was up and around right away."

Robotic Sacrocolpopexy for Uterine Prolapse

Seeing his patients' speedy recovery is rewarding for Dr. Michael Glass, a urologist who has been using da Vinci for more than six years, including for another relatively common women’s health issue: uterine prolapse. The condition, in which the supportive tissues weaken, allowing the uterus to fall, is life altering, yet many women live with it, believing there’s nothing they can do, Dr. Glass says.

"They need to know: There's not only a solution to the problem; there's a minimally-invasive solution," says Dr. Glass, who attaches an internal mesh to support the uterus in a procedure called a sacrocolpopexy.

Sky Ridge Medical Center is still one of only a few south Denver facilities offering the da Vinci technology, which requires a financial and surgical training investment. "You do have to be really good at using the machine," Dr. Glass says.

But with the benefits, particularly for patients, and the potential for expanded use in complex surgical procedures, Drs. Grover and Glass predict the technology will grow. Their best advice: Seek experienced surgeons.

Beckman knew Dr. Grover, who has performed more than 100 da Vinci hysterectomies, was skilled with the system, and she's glad she didn't shun the futuristic-sounding technology now that she can look back on an experience unlike major surgery of the past. But she is grateful for at least one post-surgical order, Beckman says. "Dr. Grover said he didn’t want me to do housework for a while. At least I got out of that for a bit."

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