WOMEN’S health in the MidWest has taken a huge step forward with the expansion of the robotic surgery programme at University Hospital Limerick to include gynaecological procedures.
The robotic procedures are far less invasive and even hysterectomies can be performed through a very small opening, leaving patients to recover faster and with better results and less scarring.
Consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist Uzma Mahmood performed the first procedure in Limerick with the Da Vinci Xi Dual Console robot in January. Seven gynaecological procedures have been carried out with the robot to date.
In 2016, UHL became the first hospital in Ireland to perform colorectal, renal and adrenal surgical procedures using the state-of-the-art robotic system.
The Da Vinci system provides gynaecological surgeons with a groundbreaking alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy.
Ms Mahmood said that patients who have a hysterectomy via the robotic procedure have reduced blood loss, less post-operative pain, reduced the length of hospital stay by four days and a quicker return to normal activities than patients having any other methods of surgery.
Robotic procedures can also help preserve fertility. In the case of the removal of uterine fibroids, which are relatively common in Irish women, an open procedure comes not only with the usual risks and increased length of stay but also an increased risk of hysterectomy.
Not all women are suitable for robotic surgery but those women for whom it was an appropriate option had been positive about the choice they made, Ms Mahmood said.
“I can see demand will increase because nobody wants an open procedure if they can have minimally invasive surgery. Who would want to stay five days in hospital if it is possible to stay just one night?”