Robot-Assisted Hysterectomies

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If your doctor tells you that you need a hysterectomy, you might think that means it's time for a major operation. But with the help of a robot, there's a newer - less invasive procedure that can treat a range of uterine conditions.

Jolene Perkins is a mother of four and a teacher at Reynaud Middle School. Each day, her priorities are centered on her family and her students, but a health scare two years ago changed her focus to her own well-being.  "We did an emergency procedure to scrape the uterus and see what was going on and we ran tests," says Jolene.

For weeks at a time, Jolene was experiencing non-stop bleeding and pain. She was told she had an enlarged uterus and that a hysterectomy was the only way to make this condition stop.  "At the time I was 37 years old, so I was thinking, a hysterectomy at 37? I'm a woman and I need all of my body parts," she says, "so that was my feeling then and the doctor said, 'well, look at your health.'"

Dr. Johnny Biddle is an OB/GYN at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. He says a hysterectomy, or a procedure to remove female organs, is best for women with benign uterine conditions.  "If the patient has a pelvic mass, has a problem with bleeding, has endometriosis or chronic pelvic pain, has a lot of scar tissue in the abdomen," says Dr. Biddle.

Until recently, hysterectomies involved large incisions on the abdomen and less visibility for the surgeon to perform the procedure.  But now, with the daVinci Surgical System, surgeons have unmatched precision and control - and use only a few dime-size incisions.  "It's the mere fact that you have smaller incisions and I think that's what makes the major difference in the amount of pain and the reason why the patient can get up and start moving a lot sooner," says Dr. Biddle.

The robot gives doctors more flexibility during the operation and the ability to rotate the instrument 360 degrees, getting to the precise problematic area.  Jolene had her hysterectomy last spring and was back to being an active mother and teacher within a couple of weeks.  "I don't have a lot of scars on my body and I'm not bleeding any more," says Jolene, "I'm not having all of the pain I had...the pain was just horrific!"

*The daVinci System of robot-assisted surgeries is also available for some urologic procedures. To find out more information on this technology at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, call 436-2511.