Every year in the United States, surgeons repair more than a million hernias, making it one of the most common surgical procedures in the country. In fact, about 10% of Americans will have a hernia at some point in their lives — and nearly everyone will need to have surgery to have their hernia repaired.
Hernias happens when part of an organ or other tissue pushes through a natural tissue “wall” inside your body, protruding into an area where it doesn’t belong. At his practices in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, Michael Sutker, MD, and his team use state-of-the-art surgical techniques like robotic surgery to repair hernias and help prevent them from recurring.
Robots in the OR
The term “robotic surgery” might conjure up images of metal humanoids wielding lasers and space-age surgical tools. But before you let your imagination get too carried away, know this: Robotic surgery is still performed by surgeons — human surgeons. Your surgeon uses a specially designed surgical robot to assist in certain parts of the surgery — especially parts requiring a high degree of accuracy and precision.
Dr. Sutker and his team use the da Vinci® Surgical System, a surgical robot featuring several special “arms” designed to hold instruments, lights, and cameras. The cameras send highly detailed, close-up images of the surgical site to a video monitor, allowing the doctor to have clear, magnified images of the area.
Dr. Sutker controls the robot arms and the surgical instruments himself while seated at the da Vinci console. At every stage of the surgery, Dr. Surtker is in control, using the robot as a special type of surgical instrument.
Benefits of robotic surgery
That’s how robotic surgery works. Now let’s look at the benefits it offers for hernia surgery patients.
The da Vinci system camera provides a full, detailed view of the surgical site without the need for a large incision. The surgical instruments are designed to be used through narrow incisions, as well. That means less discomfort after surgery and smaller scars later on.
Less tissue damage and bleeding
Smaller instruments and greater precision mean less muscle and connective tissue is damaged during the surgery, and bleeding is also reduced.
A recent study found patients undergoing robotic surgery for inguinal hernia repair had fewer complications compared to patients who had open (larger incision) surgery for the same type of repair.
Less tissue damage and smaller incisions also lead to faster healing times, along with decreased swelling and bruising for a more comfortable postoperative experience overall.
Quicker return to your routine
Finally, faster healing and less bruising and swelling mean you can get back to your regular routines faster.
Dr. Sutker uses the da Vinci system primarily for hernias around your belly button (umbilical hernias) or your lower belly or groin (inguinal hernias). Some hernias require other techniques and larger incisions to repair the hernia and prevent future hernias in the same area.
To learn more about robotic surgery with the da Vinci system and whether it’s a good choice for your hernia repair, call the office, or book an appointment online today.