Hospital Checkups: At UC Health, robotic surgery reduces scarring & recovery time after hysterectomy

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to major hospitals engaged in a wide range of treatment, research and innovative activities. In our "Hospital Checkups" series, WCPO asks each hospital to pick one thing it is doing new or differently in 2014.

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UC Health

Single Site Robotic Hysterectomy: Leaving few traces of surgery

Your doctor says that you need a hysterectomy. Who will take care of the kids? What about your job? And will it leave a scar?

According to, the hysterectomy is the second most common surgery for women in the United States (after the C-section).

Now, in a major initiative at UC Health , surgeons are using a new robotic system designed to allow patients to recover from a hysterectomy more quickly than with traditional surgeries, without visible scars.

It’s called single-site hysterectomy, using the da Vinci Surgical System . Surgeons perform most of their work through a single incision, generally hidden in the navel. Previous robotic systems required up to six incisions to accommodate the instruments and cameras.

Eric Eisenhauer, MD, Medical Director of Gynecologic Oncology at UC Health , says a single incision means reduced risk for infection, fewer visible scars, and faster recovery time. Usually patients leave the hospital within a day and return to normal activities in two to three weeks.

Hysterectomy surgery has come a long way. It used to be performed through much larger incisions, and women could not return to normal activities for about six weeks after surgery.

As with other robotic surgeries, the doctor sits at a separate console with a 3D viewing screen and uses the controls to perform the surgery.

The FDA has not yet approved single-site hysterectomy for women with cancer. In the future, the single-site robotic surgery system may also be used for gallbladder surgery and gastric bypass.

Contact UC Health Gynecologic Oncology

Editor's note: On Tuesday, "Hospital Checkups" continues in Northern Kentucky, where St. Elizabeth is building a Heart & Vascular Institute.

WATCH Hospital Checkups: TriHealth's free Price Hill clinic serves patients 'trying to do the right thing'

Video by Mark Bowen of Mark Bowen Media  and reporting by Gretchen MacKnight.

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