Robotic surgery makes procedure easier on everyone

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - In March 200, Amanda Daniels' world came crashing down.  She great was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

"I was petrified.  I cried four days.  I could not even talk about it," Daniels recalls.

With two children already, she and her husband were just about to try for a third,  but the diagnosis meant she would need to have a hysterectomy.  Her ability to have another child was gone and painful memories of her mother's hysterectomy flooded in. "She had a long recovery time," said Daniels. "She was in the hospital a week.  She could barely walk and as a mother of a 4 and 13-year-old, that wasn't feasible for me."  So, her OBGYN, Greg Banks, offered her a solution laparoscopic robotic surgery.  

At Brookwood Medical Center, the device is used to perform hysterectomies, remove fibroids and cancerous lymph nodes.  And the benefits are numerous, Banks says.  "With a robotic device, you're talking much smaller incision sights.  The smallest is only a centimeter," he says.   A normal hysterectomy scar is ten times as long and there is also the issue of blood loss. "You're usually talking extremely small blood loss…about two tablespoons".  

There are also great benefits to the surgeon as well.  By looking through a 3D camera, he has more clarity.  There's more dexterity, 360 degrees and greater precision.  "So it works very much like an open case.  You're just working with very, very tiny hands and that's the best way to describe it," says Banks.  

Maybe most important is that the procedure allows for less recuperation time.  It takes a patient about 4 to 6 weeks to recover from a normal hysterectomy."  But not Amanda Daniels.  "I had the surgery on December 11th. And on December 14th, I was grocery shopping.  We started out with a whirlwind diagnosis but the surgery was the best thing that ever happened.

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