Sanford Health Performs Single-Incision Robotic Hysterectomy

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Less Invasive Surgery Offers Hidden Scar, Less Pain, Faster Recovery

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Women no longer have to worry about significant scars and missing weeks of work

Sanford Women’s is now performing single-incision robotic hysterectomies. The surgery is performed through a tiny incision in the belly button, making the procedure virtually scarless.

The instrumentation allows the surgeon to remove the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries through one small incision. In addition to a minimal scar that is often hidden by the belly button, the benefits of this surgical procedure may include shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and less pain. Previous robotic surgeries required up to four incisions.

Sanford gynecologic surgeons Laurie Landeen, MD and Erica Schipper, MD are the first in the state trained to perform this innovative procedure using the latest technology available, da Vinci® Single-Site™ robotic surgery system. Sanford is among the first hospitals in the Midwest to offer the surgery.

“Women no longer have to worry about significant scars and missing weeks of work,” said Dr. Schipper. “Most patients go home the next day and have to take little more than ibuprofen for the pain. They resume normal activities within a couple of weeks.”

The technology used to perform the procedure was approved by the FDA in 2011, with approval for use in benign hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy (fallopian tubes and ovaries) granted in February 2013.

“We are proud to be the first in the state to offer our patients a single-incision hysterectomy,” said Paul Hanson, president Sanford USD Medical Center. “It demonstrates our commitment to offering women the most advanced, minimally-invasive surgical options.”

For the procedure, a surgeon makes an incision less than an inch in length in the patient’s belly button. This allows a port, or tube, to be placed in the opening. Through this port, the robot’s camera and robotic arms are moved into the patient’s abdomen.

The surgeon then sits at a console, viewing 3-D, high-definition images, while using controls to move robotic arms and instruments inside the patient’s body. The system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of the surgical instruments.

According to the National Institutes of Health, hysterectomies are very common, one in three women in the United States has one by the age of 60.

At Sanford Health, surgeons perform various types of robotic-assisted surgeries in addition to gynecologic surgery, including surgical procedures for gall bladder removal, prostate, kidney, urological and colorectal conditions. For more information on Sanford Women’s and Single-Site Hysterectomy, visit

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in nine states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel, Mexico and China.

Sanford Health includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North Dakota and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives, including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, visit


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Shawn Neisteadt
Sanford Health
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