Some doctors in our region now use robotics to perform hysterectomy procedures. Currently, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown and Mt. Nittany Medical Center in State College offer the technology.
Robotic surgery allows doctors to operate through tiny incisions using controllers and specially designed tools. Now a new system just approved by the FDA is providing surgeons with more precision, especially during delicate gynecologic procedures like hysterectomies. Doctors say it’s making a huge difference in recovery.
“I have my own business- real estate agent. Constantly on the go- four daughters,” said Tracy Tamaris. She’s a forty-year old single mom, who never let anything slow her down until three months ago.
“I was having a lot of cramping, pain, breakthrough bleeding in between cycles,” she explained.
Doctors found pre-cancerous cells in her cervix and uterine glands and recommended a hysterectomy. Dwight Im, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., a gynecologic oncologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, used a brand new robotic system for the procedure. Dr. Im said with this system, he starts with a one-inch cut in the bellybutton.
“You put four or five instruments through the incision and it is almost as if you have multiple holes, even though you are operating only through just one single hole,” Dr. Im said.
But unlike earlier robotic systems, this system has smaller components. Dr. Im explained, “The arms are more slender, they move much more easily. This allows the surgeon to be able perform the partial hysterectomy without having to worry so much about moving around inside the belly.”
Instead of being sidelined for six to eight weeks, Tracy was back to work in five days. “I started off half a day. But a half day to me is still eight hours,” Tracy said. She’s grateful she’s feeling much better.
Dr. Im said the new system also has a higher resolution view of the surgical field, which makes it easier to see blood vessels and other tissues.