Robotic surgeons ease hysterectomy procedures, reduce complications

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the last 10 years, specialized robotic surgeons at Winnie Palmer Hospital have been improving care for women in need of hysterectomies.

Brenda Larsen was one patient referred there after a struggle with blood clots in her legs. In January, she was scheduled for a robotic surgery with Dr. Jessica Vaught Larsen to perform a hysterectomy. 

Larsen's mother had a hysterectomy, but she was unfamiliar with the new technology.

"I was like that's kind of weird, I just imagined like a video game," said Larsen. 

Vaught said performing robotic surgeries requires specialized training.

"The robot has four arms, you know, on an open surgery I only have two hands, so the robot turns me into a four-handed surgeon," said Vaught.

Since 2008, the surgeons at Winnie Palmer have performed more than 8,500 robotic surgeries.

Vaught said 80 to 85 percent of her robotic surgery patients go home the same day. 

In Larsen's experience she left the hospital hours after the surgery and went back to work the next week.

"You just get five little holes, and that's it. And the stitches were inside, so they go away," said Larsen.

Vaught explained that this evolution of surgery is giving patients better outcomes because of smaller incisions, less blood loss and less complications.
"There have been sensational stories about robotics, and I think largely those come from either people not being trained in the right manner, or the program not having the same quality characteristics, or standards, but you know, a robot can always make a surgeon a little bit better," said Vaught.

Larsen said even though her physical recovery was easy, she did worry about feelings of loss.

"It trips with your brain like, 'Oh, you're not going to be a lady anymore,' you know what I mean," said Larsen. "I think it's more common than people probably know about."
According to the Office on Women's Health, nearly half a million women in the United States get hysterectomies.

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