Conditions that may require hysterectomy

Female anatomyA wide variety of conditions can affect a woman’s reproductive system, which consists of the uterus, vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Those conditions include cancer, fibroids and endometriosis. The most common types of gynecologic cancers are cervical, endometrial (uterine) and ovarian cancer. Fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. Endometriosis occurs when uterine-like tissue grows outside of the uterus.

Women with these and other complex conditions may be treated with a hysterectomy — the surgical removal of the uterus. During such an operation, the surgeon may also remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes and/or select lymph nodes. Hysterectomy is the second-most common surgical procedure for reproductive-aged women in the United States. An estimated one-third of all U.S. women will have a hysterectomy by age 60.

Robotic-assisted hysterectomy

incision comparison for open surgery vs. robotic-assisted hysterectomyIf your doctor recommends a hysterectomy, you may be a candidate for a robotic-assisted hysterectomy, a highly effective, minimally invasive option for a range of uterine conditions. At UC Davis Health, we have gynecologic surgeons who are skilled in performing hysterectomies using the da Vinci surgical system. This robotic system enables surgeons to operate with remarkable precision and control — using only a few small incisions. For many patients, a minimally invasive hysterectomy using the robotic system can offer numerous potential benefits over traditional approaches to vaginal or open abdominal hysterectomy — particularly for challenging procedures for gynecologic cancer, large fibroids, endometriosis or other complicated conditions.

Benefits to patients

Potential benefits include:

  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • A faster return to normal daily activities

Studies also suggest that the robotic-assisted system provides surgeons with a superior tool that allows for the precise removal of lymph nodes during cancer operations, when compared to traditional open or other minimally invasive approaches. The robotic system also allows your surgeon better visualization of the anatomy, which is especially critical when working around delicate and confined structures like the bladder, blood vessels and other internal organs. This allows robotically trained surgeons to perform cancer surgeries and overcome challenges associated with scar tissue from previous operations.

As with any surgery, the benefits cannot be guaranteed. Successful outcomes depend on both the patient and the procedure. While robotic-assisted hysterectomies are considered safe and effective, the technique may not be appropriate for every individual. You should discuss all treatment options with your physician to understand the risks and benefits and decide on the treatment approach that is right for you.