GYN Oncologist Uses da Vinci Surgical Robot to Preserve Fertility

Mississippi’s only female Gynecologic Oncologist Mildred Ridgway, MD is now performing a new procedure at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. using the da Vinci® surgical robot to remove uterine fibroids. Removing uterine fibroids is referred to as a myomectomy, or fibroidectomy.

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Dr. Ridgway prepared to remove fibroid tumor with the da Vinci surgical robot team

For many patients, a robotic myomectomy is a less invasive approach for the removal of fibroid tumors. I can physically take out a large tumor with very little damage to the tissue surrounding the tumor.

Jackson, MS (Vocus) June 19, 2010

Baptist Medical New Network, a division of Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, Miss., recently posted a video of Mississippi’s only female Gynecologic Oncologist Mildred Ridgway, MD performing a minimally invasive way to remove uterine fibroids using the da Vinci® surgical robot. The procedure is often referred to as a myomectomy, or fibroidectomy and can be viewed at http://www.mbhs.org/mednews.

Dr. Ridgway began removing uterine fibroids using the da Vinci in 2009. The case dipicted in the video is of a 33 year-old woman who presented with an enlarged uterus, pelvic pain and excessive bleeding. In an effort to retain her fertility, Dr. Ridgway removed the single isolated fibroid, about the size of a large organge, from the patient’s uterus. So, in order to remove the fibroid tumor, Dr. Ridgway used the robot to access the uterus, make an incision, cut the tumor out and sew the uterus back together.

“The majority of myomectomies are still performed through open incisions,” said Dr. Ridgway. “For many patients, a robotic myomectomy is a less invasive approach for the removal of fibroid tumors. I can physically take out a large tumor with very little damage to the tissue surrounding the tumor.”

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, at least 25 percent of women suffer from uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are the most frequent pelvic tumors seen by gynecologists. They are treated in a variety of ways, including surgical and non-surgical. The first approach is treating through medications or hormonal therapy. But for many, options include a hysterectomy or myomectomy. Patients may need a myomectomy instead of a hysterectomy if they have symptomatic fibroids but want to retain their fertility. Common symptoms may be severe bleeding, pelvic pain, difficulty becoming pregnant, or difficulty retaining a pregnancy.

“Traditional laparoscopy limits the patients that may be candidates for minimally invasive surgery. The robot overcomes those limitations therefore allowing a broader spectrum of patients a minimally invasive approach to myomectomy,” Dr. Ridgway added. “We're excited about using robotic technology to treat cases like uterine fibroids, but it's important to provide the best options available when caring for patients.”

The da Vinci® Myomectomy provides a magnified, three-dimensional view enabling the surgeon to perform precise surgery in complex procedures through small surgical incisions. The robot provides the surgeon with the intuitive control, range of motion, fine tissue manipulation capability and 3-d visualization characteristics of open surgery, while simultaneously allowing the surgeon to work through small ports of minimally invasive surgery.

The recovery from a robotic myomectomy is typically a one night hospital stay and varies from person to person. The patient is generally back to work or a normal routine approximately 7 to 10 days versus approximately six weeks for an open incision procedure.

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