More women benefit from less invasive gyne surgery
November 26, 2010
EDMONTON – A high-tech, less invasive surgical tool to treat gynecologic cancers is helping more patients than ever before.
More than 50 gynecologic surgeries have been performed in Edmonton during the first
11 months of 2010 using the robotic-assisted da Vinci System, surpassing the 31 total procedures performed in 2009. The annual number of robotic-assisted gynecologic surgeries should continue to rise as local oncologists make more use of the surgical tool.
On the Canadian prairies, only Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital offers this effective treatment option.
“The precision of robotic-assisted surgery translates into less invasive procedures and quicker recovery time,” said gynecologic oncologist Dr. Tiffany Wells, who was recruited this summer to the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, located within the Royal Alex. “Patients end up having four, one-centimetre incisions rather than a laparotomy (a large, open-belly incision). They go home the next day. Recovery time tends to be two weeks as opposed to six, allowing us to start adjuvant therapy like chemo or radiation sooner.”
The da Vinci System has an ergonomic surgeon’s console; a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms that respond precisely to the surgeon’s hand movements; and screens that display high-definition, three-dimensional images of the procedure.
Dr. Wells, Dr. Helen Steed and Dr. Valerie Capstick primarily use the robot to treat Stage 1 cervical cancer. Stage of disease, size of tumour and uterus, and body-mass index are some of the criteria used to select patients for robotic-assisted surgery.
Shannon Dukelsky, 42, had her uterus and ovaries removed during a robotic-assisted surgery in 2009. She says her recovery was quick and “amazingly pain-free.”
“They put tape over the incisions and away you go,” says Dukelsky. “I’m an avid volleyball player and I was back playing volleyball within three weeks of the surgery.”
The first Edmonton procedure was performed in 2009. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are the only other Canadian cities that offer this surgical option in gynecology. The da Vinci System is also used for robotic-assisted prostate surgeries.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.