Most hernias develop over time and usually do not go away on their own. Surgery is often needed to repair the hernia and relieve symptoms. Traditionally, repair had been through open surgery, but now minimally invasive robotic surgery is a viable option for hernia repair and offers several significant advantages to consider.
Hernias occur when organs or fatty tissue squeeze through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue into another area of the body where they do not belong. A hernia can occur in various places, such as the abdomen, groin, diaphragm or site of a previous incision.
Hernias often develop from a combination of weakened muscles, aging and strain in the abdominal and groin areas. Physical activity, obesity, pregnancy, coughing, or straining during bowel movements can cause hernias.
Repairing a Hernia
Repairing a hernia involves strengthening the weakened tissue area. This is done through surgery, closing the site of the hernia and, in many cases, inserting a surgical mesh that bolsters the area.
In the past, this process was done through traditional open surgery, using larger incisions to reach and repair the defect, and then placing the mesh. More recently, laparoscopic surgery became another option for hernia repair. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, with small incisions made at the surgical site. Surgeons insert small instruments into the incisions along with a tiny 2D camera to help guide the surgeon during the procedure.
Robotic surgery improves upon the capabilities of laparoscopic surgery. In addition to being minimally invasive, robotic surgery for hernias provides surgeons with increased precision and accuracy during the procedure and enhance benefits for patients.
How Robotic Surgery Works
Robotic surgery uses a clinical robotic surgical system that allows the surgeon to control a 3D camera and mechanical arms to perform the surgery. The camera and instruments are passed through tiny incisions at the surgical site. The surgeon is seated at a console in the operating room and controls the arms of the robot using a system of controls that mirror the surgeon’s movements and guide the camera and other tools.
Dr. Bobby Gibbons, a general surgeon with Orlando Health Medical Group Surgery, explains the advantages of robotic surgery from a surgeon’s point of view. “The camera inside the body provides a three-dimensional view we didn’t have before, and the wristed instrumentation allows a full 360-degree range of motion not possible with traditional surgical instruments.”
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
For hernia repair, the advantages of a better view of the surgical site and better manipulation of the mesh to ensure it is applied completely over the weakened area enhance outcomes and reduce the chance of the hernia reappearing.
Also, because robotic surgery is less invasive than open surgery, patients have fewer wound complications, a lower risk of infection, less pain and an overall faster recovery. Patients may be discharged the same day versus staying in the hospital multiple days as with traditional open surgery. Shorter hospital stays and recovery times mean a return to normal activities sooner.
When choosing a robotic surgery provider, skill and experience is important. Several Orlando Health hospitals, including Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, are accredited as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation. Orlando Health also has been designated an “Epicenter” for the da Vinci® Surgical System based on excellent patient outcomes, a superb safety record and the surgeons’ extensive experience performing a large number of successful robotic surgeries. The epicenter designation also means that Orlando Health surgeons serve as robotic surgery trainers to other doctors from across the country and around the world.
Dr. Gibbons practices at Orlando Health Medical Group Surgery office locations in Dr. Phillips and at Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion – Osceola. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit OrlandoHealth.com/Robotics or call (407) 354-1202.