Janusz Rudnicki, MD, FACOG, robotic gynecological surgeon at St. John’s Riverside Hospital and Assistant Clinical Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discusses the advantages of robotic surgery.
Q: How does robotic gynecological surgery using the da Vinci Xi surgical system compare with laparoscopic surgery?
Dr. Rudnicki: Laparoscopic surgery was a breakthrough in gynecological surgery. When we make smaller incisions to perform minimally invasive surgery, patients experience less pain and scarring, faster recovery, reduced risk of infection, and shorter hospital stays. Robotic surgery is a significant extension of that approach. We mount tiny instruments on robotic arms to maximize our range of motion and use tiny, lighted cameras to view the surgery three-dimensionally.
Q: Who is a candidate for robotic surgery?
Dr. Rudnicki: Everybody who needs major gynecological surgery could be considered a candidate for robotic surgery. Hysterectomy, myomectomy and removal of dermoid cysts are just a few examples of procedures that lend themselves well to robotic technology.
Q: What are the benefits of robotic surgery over other techniques in performing gynecological procedures?
Dr. Rudnicki: The robot allows us to be more precise. Hands may move and tremble in conventional laparoscopic surgery, but that is eliminated with the use of the robotic arms. Robotic instruments are more sophisticated and are “wristed.” Those instruments enable us to operate at more precise angles, which is essential in gynecological surgery because the deeper you go, the higher the chance of complications. Anything that helps angle your instruments with greater precision is useful. Viewing is also enhanced because of the strong 3D images and better light. Suturing is far easier with robotic instruments as well. You do not have to tie as many knots. Also, blood loss is significantly reduced.
“The da Vinci Xi at St. John’s Riverside Hospital is the top of the line and represents a huge improvement in terms of ease of operating over the previous iteration of the robot.”
— Janusz Rudnicki, MD, FACOG, robotic gynecological surgeon at St. John’s Riverside Hospital and Assistant Clinical Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Q: Can you tell me about the level of training and expertise you and your team have in performing robotic gynecological procedures?
Dr. Rudnicki: Safety is paramount, and Intuitive Surgical, the company that makes the da Vinci robot, has set standards to ensure that our surgeons are properly trained and stay up to date with their skills. Performing a significant number of cases is also important because it keeps everyone sharp. In addition to experienced surgeons, St. John’s Riverside Hospital has five physician assistants who are highly trained in robotic surgery. Our entire robotics team is oriented toward producing excellent outcomes.
Q: What sets St. John’s Riverside Hospital apart in terms of robotic gynecological surgery?
Dr. Rudnicki: We are completely committed to safety and quality. Our Robotic Steering Committee creates teams on which everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do. We also have a superb, responsive anesthesia team. There are no weak links. Additionally, our hospital administration is committed to providing an optimal experience for each patient. Those and other factors, such as beautiful views of the river from patients’ rooms, combine to make our patients feel happier, more comfortable and relaxed.
For information, visit riversidehealth.org.