New surgical techniques are helping patients recover faster from illness every day.
Some of those procedures are offered here in Dothan.
One of those. Hysterectomies, have a come a long way from long incisions and long painful recovery times.
Now a woman can have the surgery done one day...and be back on her feet the next with the help of a machine called the daVinci.
Ruth Heidelberger, a recent patient of the procedure, says the pain in her lower abdomen was controlling her life. Bleeding and cramping were preventing her from doing the activities she enjoyed most before the surgery.
Ruth's uterus was prolapsing or falling and her doctor said she needed a hysterectomy. She recommended the daVinci robotically assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Asha Voss, M.D.,Obstetrics and Gynecology of Dothan, says, “the robotic technology has allowed us to refine our laparoscopic approach and remove the uterus ,tubes and ovaries from the pelvis with a very small incision.”
The procedure requires the patient to go under general anesthesia during surgery. Ports are inserted into incisions in the abdomen. The robotic arms are moved into place and then attached to the ports, while one arm holds a camera.
Then the doctor performs the surgery at a console while the actual surgery takes place with robotics on the operating room table.
The camera helps the doctor see the patient’s anatomy very clearly while the doctor manipulates the surgical instruments from the console.
“The robotics allow us to handle tissue a lot more delicately, with a lot more precision and cleaner incision lines and dissection of tissue, says Dr. Voss.
Doctors say patients who undergo this procedure spend less time in the hospital, have less pain and less blood loss. Recovery time includes one night in the hospital and one week at home. A patient can return to light duty at work within two to three weeks. One week after surgery, Ruth says her pain is gone and she's looking forward to getting back to normal activities.
“I'm looking forward to riding motorcycles, jogging with my daughter”, said Heidelberger.
Dr. Voss says around 10-15 percent of her patients undergo this type of hysterectomy. She's hoping with time and new technology that number will increase to 50 percent.
‘Most of it is an information issue that we need to get the word out that there is a good approach to hysterectomy, it's a new approach and it's becoming more and more popular,” said Voss.
Not all women are good candidates for this type of hysterectomy.
Dr. Voss says they expect this technology will be refined so that doctors can operate using even fewer incisions in the future.