Easing Surgical Recovery At da Vinci

da Vinci surgery offers patient benefits

A day after the hysterectomy, Staci Robinson cheered in the stands at her son’s football game. A second-grade teacher and mother of two, Robinson is constantly on the move. With da Vinci surgery, Robinson didn’t have to wait long to get back to her normal routine. A few days after the procedure, she was back at work. “It was a very good, quick recovery,” she said.

Robinson’s quick recovery is typical of patients who undergo this type of procedure, said Dr. Bill Kuyper of Mid-City OB-GYN. When patients come back to his office for a post-surgical check, they feel good.

“You can tell just by looking at (patients) that they’re brighter,” he said. “They’re more well-rested and comfortable. They feel better.”

The da Vinci surgery system makes the swift recovery possible. With the da Vinci system, surgeons like Kuyper can operate through just a few small incisions. Surgeons utilize a special console that translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny, robotic instruments inside the body. Because the cuts are smaller than the larger, open incisions of traditional surgery, recovery time is dramatically reduced, and patients can return to normal life more quickly. Patients experience less pain, reduced blood loss and less scarring. While open surgery requires one to three days in the hospital, da Vinci surgery patients often go home the same day, Kuyper said.

The approach has so many advantages that Mid-City OB-GYN now uses it for the majority of hysterectomies, Kuyper said. Located at 72nd and Center, Mid-City OB-GYN is an independent group of physicians offering a full range of obstetrics and gynecology services. Two years ago, the group opened a satellite clinic at the 717 Medical Office Building adjacent to Methodist Women’s Hospital, bringing services including da Vinci surgery to women in West Omaha.

The difference with da Vinci surgery is the degree of precision surgeons can achieve through the use of technology. With open surgery, a large incision is made through the abdomen — large enough for the surgeon to fit his or her hands and instruments in the body. A less invasive option is laparoscopy; surgery is done through a few small incisions using a tiny camera and thin, long surgical instruments.

Da Vinci surgery takes laparoscopy to the next level. With da Vinci, surgeons make just a few small incisions, similar to traditional laparoscopy. The da Vinci system features a magnified 3D high-definition screen and special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables the surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

Throughout the procedure, the surgeon is 100 percent in control, said Kuyper, who has performed da Vinci surgery for three years. In addition to the benefits to patients, the technique offers multiple advantages to the surgeon. The procedures can be less tiring because surgeons aren’t bending over an operating table. For maneuvering in tight spaces, the system makes it easier for surgeons to see.

“Especially on more difficult cases, it’s actually easier,” he said. “I can see better and I have a better ability to identify where I need to direct my attention.”

This spring, Mid-City OB-GYN plans to offer single-site da Vinci surgery, allowing surgeons to operate through just one small incision through the belly button. The result will be nearly scar-free surgery. “If you can take something you did in three or four incisions and make it one, it’s making what’s already great better,” Kuyper said.

Kuyper, a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, grew up in southern California and received his medical education at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Witnessing how much technology has improved patient care since his medical school days excites him.

“Technology has allowed us to do so many more things than ever thought,” he said. “You see science fiction movies about the future, and now we’re living it.”

Mid-City OB-GYN satellite office

717 N. 190th Plaza, Suite 2100

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