COVID Update: Masks are still required in health care settings, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Also, Scripps does not provide COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic patients. See FAQs.

What Is Robotic Hysterectomy Surgery? (podcast)

Minimally invasive uterus removal procedure is safe and common

Dr. Kim Hui, OB-GYN,  discusses robotic hysterectomy on San Diego Health podcast.

Dr. Kim Hui, OB-GYN, Scripps Clinic

Minimally invasive uterus removal procedure is safe and common

By age 60, more than a third of women in the US will have had a hysterectomy and roughly 600,000 women undergo a hysterectomy each year. The common procedure, by which the uterus is removed, is used to address gynecological issues, such as pelvic pain, fibroids, endometriosis and cancer, when more conservative measures have failed.


In the past, a hysterectomy was considered major surgery and required a hospital stay, and weeks, if not months, of recovery. But minimally invasive robotic surgery is revolutionizing the way doctors perform the procedure.

 

In this episode of San Diego Health, host Susan Taylor and guest Kim Hui, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital, discuss the benefits of robotic hysterectomy surgery, her specialty. Dr. Hui also details how the minimally invasive procedure is performed.

Listen to the episode on minimally invasive robotic hysterectomy

Listen to the episode on minimally invasive robotic hysterectomy

Podcast highlights

What is a hysterectomy? (0:52)

In a hysterectomy, we remove the uterus. It’s a common procedure that we use to address various issues in the gynecologic world, such as pelvic pain, fibroids, endometriosis, and cancer.

What is endometriosis? (1:14)

Endometriosis is when you have endometrium that grows outside of the uterus. It typically causes pain, and over a lifetime, it can cause inflammation and adhesions and chronic pain.

What is uterine or cervical cancer? (1:31)

That’s also a very common condition. We screen for it with Pap smears and such. When it’s diagnosed, then we would remove the uterus and the cervix in order to address these cancers.

How do you know when you might need a hysterectomy? (1:48)

A lot of times we try to treat gynecologic ailments with conservative measurements first, things like hormones to control the bleeding and pain medications to control the pain. A lot of times that works, but when it doesn’t work, then the patient will start to seek something a little bit more permanent, and that’s when the hysterectomy comes in.

What’s the average age of women who get a hysterectomy? (2:17)

I would say typically in their 40s, when they’re done with childbearing and they’re no longer looking for fertility, and they are just tired of dealing with whatever ailment that is causing them. That is the typical age for things like endometriosis and fibroids. With cancers, it’s a little bit older because cancers tend to strike at an older age.

You can’t get pregnant after a hysterectomy? (3:02)

That is very correct, yes.

What is minimally invasive robotic surgery? (3:08)

Typically, an open hysterectomy is when we make an incision and we remove the uterus through this big incision. It typically involves a hospital stay that is typically one to two days long. People will tend to have a lot of pain. It is associated with more bleeding and infection.


With the robot and laparoscopy, we don’t make any big incisions. We have these tiny holes that we insert instruments through and we remove the uterus that way. Patients tend to go home the same day. They have less bleeding, less pain and it just gives them a better experience.

Where are tiny incisions done in a robotic hysterectomy? (4:06)

One is in the belly button and two that are about four finger lengths to the right and to the left, and that’s it. Sometimes you may need a fourth incision just to help with manipulation, but that is it.

When can you get back to doing your normal activities? (4:31)

Typically, we say two weeks. Sometimes patients are back to work in one week. Sometimes a little bit longer, maybe three weeks total.

When can you get back to exercising? (4:42)

Two to three weeks.

When should you consider robotic hysterectomy? (4:55)

If you have any issues that you’ve been dealing with such as pelvic pain or bleeding, talk to your gynecologist about a robot assisted hysterectomy.

Lightly edited for clarity.

Watch the video on robotic hysterectomy

Watch the San Diego Health video with host Susan Taylor and Dr. Hui discussing what to expect during and after robotic hysterectomy.