It is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of all American women have uterine fibroids, masses of smooth muscle cells that grow in the uterus. And 6 to 15 percent of American women are affected by endometriosis, a condition in which cells that normally grow inside the uterus grow outside of the uterus instead.
While many women with these conditions have few symptoms, others experience mild to severe pelvic pain and excessive menstrual bleeding. And both conditions can adversely affect a woman’s ability to conceive. In fact, up to 40 percent of infertile women are found to have endometriosis.
Robotic Laparoscopic Surgery
The Reproductive Medicine Center offers robotic laparoscopic surgery for uterine fibroids, endometriosis and other reproductive disorders.
Robotic-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which three to five small incisions—each about the diameter of a pencil—are made in the abdomen and pelvis. Telescopic instruments are inserted into the incisions and the instruments are then attached to robotic arms.
The surgeon manipulates the arms from a remote console that provides a high-performance, three-dimensional image. The surgeon can remove uterine fibroids or endometrial tissue and, if needed, repair the uterus. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Patients usually go home the same day.
Robotic-assisted surgery may also be an option for women seeking reversal of fallopian tube sterilization. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin was the first to perform this procedure in the state of Wisconsin. Although reversal of tubal sterilization is performed less frequently due to the availability and success of in vitro fertilization, some women prefer to conceive naturally. Robotic-assisted surgery offers suitable candidates another option for regaining fertility with a quicker recovery time than other surgical approaches.
High Success, Reduced Complications
The success rate for alleviating symptoms and restoring fertility are the same for robotic-assisted surgery as they are for open abdominal surgery, but robotic-assisted surgery offers patients additional benefits. Patients recover with less pain and discomfort and can expect to return to normal routines including work, social functioning and even exercise within three to five days.
Robotic-assisted surgery also lessens the potential of complications such as infection, bleeding and the slow return of normal urinary function. And since the incisions made during robotic-assisted surgery are so small, there is also an improved cosmetic result.
A woman’s eligibility for robotic-assisted surgery to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis is determined by her physician and is based on a variety of factors including the severity of her condition and whether she has undergone previous surgeries. Some patients are better candidates for medical therapy more extensive surgical procedures.
In an abundance of caution, care and concern for our patients, staff and community, we are delaying fertility treatment starts until we have a greater sense of the degree of COVID-19 transmission in our region. We will closely follow ASRM and CDC recommendations as they become available.