The South Carolina Institute for Robotic Surgery has expanded its use of robotic-assisted surgery to offer a single-site hysterectomy procedure. Dr. Ron Givens of Lowcountry Women’s Specialists is among a small group of surgeons in the nation trained to perform this advanced procedure.

About the Procedure

The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ that holds and feeds a fertilized egg. A wide variety of conditions can affect the uterus. Traditionally, many conditions affecting the uterus are treated with hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus. In the United States, doctors perform about 600,000 hysterectomies every year, making it the second most common surgical procedure. An estimated one-third of all women will have a hysterectomy by age 60, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The cosmetic results of a hysterectomy can weigh heavily on women… This new single-site procedure gives women a surgical option that leaves virtually no scar.
- Dr. Ron Givens

Hysterectomy can be a life-saving treatment for such serious conditions as cancer or uncontrollable bleeding. In many cases, though, hysterectomy is an elective procedure performed to relieve chronic pain, bleeding or other disabling conditions. These may be caused by fibroids (noncancerous tumors); endometriosis (noncancerous growth of the uterine lining) or prolapsed (falling or slipping of the uterus).

Traditional Hysterectomy

da Vinci hysterectomy incisions diagram

Hysterectomy can sometimes be performed through the vagina. However, when the uterus is enlarged – for example, from fibroids or cancer – an abdominal hysterectomy is preferable. This requires a 6- to 12-inch incision. In some cases, doctors also remove the ovaries because they are thought to release hormones contributing to the condition.

While hysterectomy is relatively safe, it may not be appropriate or necessary for all individuals or conditions. Alternative treatments that can preserve the uterus or ovaries may be available.

Robotic-Assisted Hysterectomies

Compared to a traditional hysterectomy, a robotic-assisted procedure is minimally invasive and helps women return to their normal activities more quickly. The surgery is performed in less than one hour and many patients return home within four hours and nearly all go home within 24 hours. Intuitive Surgical’s daVinci robotic surgery system also allows for a single incision hidden within the belly button, compared to traditional laparoscopic surgeries, which require three to five small visible incisions.

Robot-Assisted Surgery Benefits

If surgery is the best course of treatment, many women are good candidates for a less invasive surgical da Vinci® Hysterectomy. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon perform a more precise, minimally invasive procedure. For most women, da Vinci® Hysterectomy offers numerous potential benefits over traditional surgical approaches, including:

  • Shorter hospital stay.
  • Less pain.
  • Faster recovery.
  • Quicker return to normal activities.
  • Less risk of wound infection.
  • Less blood loss.
  • Less scarring.

About Robotic-Assisted Surgery at the Institute

Robotic-assisted surgery, like other minimally invasive surgery, utilizes cameras and instruments that are inserted through small incisions in a patient’s body. The advantage is that the surgeon utilizes the hand controls of a nearby console to control the robotic arms during a procedure. Through the console’s viewfinder, the surgeon sees high resolution, 3D images of the surgical site. The quality of the images and the precision of the surgical arms enable the surgeon to provide optimal care to their patients. The South Carolina Institute for Robotic Surgery is made up of a team of 23 robotically-trained surgeons. In addition to gynecologic surgery, The Institute’s use of the daVinci system includes urologic surgery and general surgery.