Frequently Asked Questions about Gynecologic Robotic Surgery
Many women have questions about gynecologic robotic-assisted surgery, the
following are answers to the most common questions.
What is minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?
The term MIS can be used interchangeably with laparoscopy or endoscopic
surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is performed through dime-sized (1-2
cm) incisions-also called operating ports. This is in contrast to the
much larger incisions used in traditional, open surgery, which are often
as large as 6-12 inches long.
The smaller incisions used in MIS typically enable shorter recovery times
and result in less pain, less blood loss, fewer transfusions, fewer infections
and reduced hospitalization costs. While MIS has become standard-of-care
for some surgical procedures, it has not been widely adopted for procedures
such as prostatectomy, mitral valve repair and complex pelvic surgery.
What is robotic-assisted surgery?
Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery in which
a robotic instrument is completely controlled by a skilled surgeon, who
manipulates mechanical arms from a console near the patient's bed. Working
from a special console in the operating room next to the patient, a surgeon
operates several precision-guided arms that hold and manipulate small
instruments that are inserted through keyhole-sized incisions in the patient.
A small video camera, inserted through another tiny incision, provides
surgeons with a magnified 3D image of the operating site. The robotic
arms, with their ability to rotate 360 degrees, enable the surgeon to
move surgical instruments with greater precision, flexibility and range
of motion than in standard minimally invasive laparoscopy.
Has the da Vinci® Surgical System been cleared by the FDA?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the da Vinci®
Surgical System for a wide range of procedures. It was approved for gynecologic
surgery in 2005.
What types of robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery does Hoag's Gynecologic
Robotic Surgery team perform?
Hoag's team offers minimally invasive treatment options for a wide range
of benign and malignant gynecologic surgical procedures including:
Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
Myomectomy (fibroid removal)
Removal of benign or cancerous tumors
Pelvic and para aortic lymphadenectomy
Removal of the ovaries
Treatment of uterine and vaginal prolapse (sacrocolpopexy)
Treatment of gynecologic cancers
What are the benefits of using the da Vinci® Surgical System when compared
with traditional methods of surgery?
Some of the benefits experienced by surgeons using the da Vinci® Surgical
System over traditional approaches are greater surgical precision, increased
range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved access.
Benefits experienced by patients may include a shorter hospital stay,
less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss, fewer transfusions,
less scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal daily activities.
None of these benefits can be guaranteed, as surgery can be both patient-
How is robotic-assisted surgery different from traditional open surgery?
When compared to traditional "open" surgeries, robotic-assisted surgery
is minimally invasive, requiring only a few small incisions in the abdomen.
Traditional open gynecologic surgery requires a large incision through
the abdomen for access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy.
Because robotic-assisted surgery is less invasive, patients experience
less scarring, less blood loss, shorter hospitalization, quicker recovery
time, fewer complications and less pain. Additionally, robotic-assisted
surgery enables surgeons to clearly see the delicate structures of the pelvis.
What happens on the day of robotic surgery?
On the day of robotic surgery, there is approximately an hour-long preparation
period prior to the surgical procedure. When surgery begins, the physician
makes a few small incisions in your abdomen and puts the instruments in
place. Your surgeon sits at an operating console and places his hands
on the controls. With full flexibility and range of motion under the surgeon's
complete control, the robotic arms precisely mimic his handling of the
surgical instruments. The surgeon is able to view the gynecological site
through a high-definition, three-dimensional screen. During the procedure,
the surgeon and assistant will always be by your side.
If the da Vinci robotic system were to fail during surgery, what would you do?
All of our surgeons are trained and experienced in traditional (open) and
laparoscopic surgery. If the robotic system were to fail during surgery,
the surgeon would continue the operation using either laparoscopy or an
open incision, which would be individualized based on the patient and
the type of surgery. By way of analogy, if a pilot's automatic landing
systems fail, he or she will land the plane manually and will have been
trained to do so.
I am considering robotic-assisted surgery. How should I proceed?
Speak with your physician about your options and determine whether or not
you are a candidate for robotic-assisted surgery. If you need a referral
to a physician who has been trained in robotic-assisted surgery, please
call 949-764-1834, or
learn more about Hoag's expert team of gynecologic robotic surgeons here.
How do I find a Hoag surgeon that specializes in robotic-assisted surgery?
For help finding a surgeon who specializes in robotic-assisted surgery
or to schedule a consultation, call 949-764-1834. Or
view Hoag's GYN Surgeons' profiles here