Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch is the first hospital in New Jersey to perform two groundbreaking robotic surgeries taking the technology to the next level: a scarless single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy and a partial kidney removal using fluorescent imaging technology.
The procedures offer patients a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery with what physicians see as better results. The medical center is the only hospital in the region employing two of of what are described as the most advanced da Vinci robotic systems available.
The medical center paved the way in the urogynecology field by performing a hysterectomy utilizing a Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) with the da Vinci Robot. Dr. Martin P. Michalewski, a urogynecologist with the medical center, performed a SILS hysterectomy through the belly button, leaving no visible scar.
Rather than making three or four separate one-quarter inch abdominal incisions, SILS uses a single one-inch incision. The advantage over traditional laparoscopic surgery is that there are no visible scars as the only scar is hidden within the umbilicus. Since there are fewer incisions, there is significantly less pain as there is less tissue trauma, less bleeding, and less risk of infection or injury from multiple port insertions.
“We’re proud to be in the forefront of health care by offering this 21st century procedure to patients requiring pelvic surgery,” Michalewski said. “Laparoscopic surgery has moved to a whole new level by adding SILS and robotics, enabling us to perform even the most complex procedures previously limited to open abdomen surgery. The da Vinci Robot and SILS flexible micro-instrumentation ensure an enhanced level of surgical precision previously reserved to neurosurgery.”
Through robotics, SILS and advanced laparoscopy, surgeons can perform complicated surgeries more precisely. The recovery time is shorter and patients often return home the same day.
“Despite the fact that non-invasive surgeries are the new standard of care, an astonishing 66 percent of hysterectomies in the U.S. are still conducted through ‘open’ procedures, which were first performed and standardized more than 80 years ago in the 1920s,” Michalewski said. “As the use of minimally invasive technologies such as robotics and SILS is changing medicine dramatically, it’s critical for people to research their treatment options to be sure they are receiving the most effective approach that will yield the best results.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors in the U.S. perform approximately 600,000 hysterectomies a year, making it the second most common surgery for women. Traditional hysterectomies require a vertical or horizontal incision across a woman’s lower abdomen. The uterus is removed through the incision, which is then closed. Typically, this procedure requires a two- or three-day hospital stay and up to eight weeks of recovery. Through laparoscopic surgery from the early 1990s, several small incisions are made on the abdomen to perform the procedure. Robotics was introduced in the early 2000s; standardized Single-Incision Laparoscopic hysterectomy followed almost a decade later. Fast forward to SILS enhanced with the da Vinci robotic surgical system, which gives surgeons the benefit of 3-D, high-definition imaging.