Robotic surgery courtesy of intuitive surgical

A recent article in the June 2013 issue of ObGyn News captured my attention because it discussed robotic surgery as treatment for uterine fibroids.  Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors in the uterus that affect 1 out of 5 women and African American women are affected three times more often than Caucasian women. Fibroids can cause heavy bleeding, severe pain and are a major cause of infertility.

Initially, fibroids are treated conservatively with medication if a woman wants to conceive. However if she develops excessive pain or bleeding, then surgical procedures including hysteroscopic resection (removing sections of the fibroids through a scope), uterine embolization (blocking the blood supply of fibroids), laparoscopic (“belly-button” surgery) or “open-case” myomectomy (removing the fibroids from the uterus) are offered.

At a recent meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons, Dr. Lauren Rascoff discussed the success of robot surgery in helping women become pregnant. A medical study looked at 198 women who had the robot procedure and over half (103) of them attempted to get pregnant after the procedure was over. 73 women successfully became pregnant and delivered a total of 81 babies. Most women were approximately 37 years old and weighed no more than 145 pounds.

Robot (aka robotic surgery) has come under fire lately for being too expensive regarding hysterectomies because it does not seem to have an advantage over women who had a hysterectomy with a laparoscope, therefore the insurance companies are not willing to pay for them. However there are few studies that compared a traditional myomectomy with a robotic procedure until now. If you’re an older woman having difficulty becoming pregnant because of fibroids, then a robotic myomectomy might be an option to be discussed with your healthcare provider. Anything that improves a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant is certainly worthy of discussion.

Are you able to recognize red flags that could occur during your pregnancy? If not, then pick up a copy of The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy. Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen; it takes a smart mother who knows what to do.