FAQ’s about Robot Surgery

Robot Surgery

Dr. Matt Hewitt

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

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Frequently Asked Questions about Robot Surgery

General questions

Does the robot actually perform the surgery?

Although the robot is in contact with the patient it is entirely controlled by the surgeon. There are many safety devices incorporated into the sytem to stop the robot acting independantly of the surgeon. It has been extensively used in the U.S.A and thus the mechanics of the sytem are tried and tested.

However all surgery is associated with risks but many surgeons believe that the robot is safer than conventional 'straight-stick' keyhole surgery.

robotIf I am a public patient can I have surgery with the robot?

The robot is for use by both public and private patients.

How do I know if I can have the surgery performed with the robot?

Ask your GP or Consultant to refer you for a consultation. Informal non-specific enquiries can be made via 'How to contact Dr Hewitt' tab but Dr Hewitt will not be able to give medical consultation by email.

Some operations, for example oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), would not need the assistance of the robot and may be performed with conventional 'straight-stick' keyhole surgery.

If I have fibroids do I have to have a hysterectomy?

Most fibroids are small and are not associated with symptoms and can thus be managed conservatively (without intervention). Some fibroids may cause heavy bleeding and occasionally pain which may be managed medically with tablets. Medical management may fail or the fibroids may be large enough to warrant non medical management. This can be in the form of embolisation (x-ray guided treatment) or surgery. There are two forms of surgical treatment for fibroids, myomectomy (removal of the fibroid with conservation of the uterus) or hysterectomy (removal of the fibroid and the uterus). Both hysterectomy and myomectomy may be performed with the robot.

Questions designed for patients having a robot hysterectomy

Can all hysterectomies be performed with the robot?

The majority of hysterectomies can be performed by the robot but it may be more suitable in some patients that the uterus is removed through a vaginal approach some times called a 'suction' hysterectomy. Although we do operate on ladies with large fibroid uteri using the robot, some uteri may not suitable for removal this way and a laparotomy (incison in the abdomen) may need to be performed.

Will I be asleep for my operation?

You will be asleep with a general anaesthetic for your operation.

How long will I be in hospital after my hysterectomy?

Most patients go home the day after their operation. You will need a responsible adult to pick you up and drive you home. You may be admitted to hospital on the day of the operation or the day before.

Will I have my ovaries removed at my hysterectomy?

This will depend on your particular circumstances. Your doctor will discuss this with you before your procedure.

When will I be able to eat?

If your hysterectomy is performed in the morning you will normally be able to eat in the afternoon. Occasionally you will not be able to eat until the following day. You will need to be fasted for 6 hours before your operation.

Will I have a catheter?

If you have a simple hysterectomy you will have a catheter in your bladder which will be removed on the evening of the operation or on the following morning. Patients having a radical hysterectomy (for cancer of the cervix) will have a catheter in for a longer period of time.

When will I be able to get out of bed?

If your operation is performed in the morning you may feel able to get out of bed in the evening initially with aid of the nurses.

When will I be able to drive?

After 3 to 4 weeks you should feel fit enough to drive. It is important that you can control the car without discomfort.

How much pain will I have after the operation?

The level of pain will depend on each patient. The majority of patients only require simple analgesia e.g. paracetamol or solpadol on discharge and are abale to mobilise independently on the following day after the operation.

When can I return to normal activities after my operation?

This will vary between patients. What is most important is that you slowly increase the amount of activity you do each day. Resting completely is inadvisable and can slow recovery but over-strenuous activity can also be detrimental.

When can have sexual intercourse after my operation?

It is best to avoid intercourse for at least 6 weeks after the operation as the top of the vagina needs to heal.

When can I return to work after my operation?

Most patients will feel fit enough to return to work after 6 weeks, but it would be advisable to tell your employer that you may need 2 months off work.

Will I have stitches that need to be removed?

There will be 5 small incisions (approximately 1cm in size) on your abdominal wall. There will be a dissolvable stitch in these incisions which will not normally need to be removed. Occasionally the stitches can become uncomfortable before they dissolve in which case your GP or practice nurse can remove these after a week.