Robotic Hernia Repair

Robotic-assisted surgery is a cutting-edge state-of-the-art technology offered at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Robotic techniques have been applied with great success to treat a wide variety of conditions. Now, surgeons are applying these same revolutionary techniques to hernia repair.

Why Robotic Hernia Repair Is Performed

A hernia is a gap in the abdominal wall that develops from a weakness in the muscles. This weakness allows abdominal tissues, or sometimes the intestines, to protrude into the opening. If left untreated, hernias can cause serious health complications, such as infection and/or loss of blood to the intestine.

Patients with the following types of hernias may be good candidates for robotic repair:

What to Expect During a Robotic Hernia Repair Procedure

Robotic hernia repair is performed under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the surgeon will control the robotic arms while sitting at a console a few feet from the patient. The surgeon will make three small incisions, each one smaller than one inch, where the endoscopic tools will be inserted. One of these tools is a 3D camera that is attached to the tips of a flexible tube.

Risks Associated with Robotic Hernia Repair

The nature of robotic hernia repair as a minimally invasive, minimal incision surgery means that, when applied to appropriate situations, robotic repair is as safe as open repair procedures. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of certain complications. Some of these risks include:

Benefits of Robotic Hernia Repair

Robotic surgery gives surgeons the dexterity and range of motion possible in an open surgery while maintaining the benefits of laparoscopic approaches for the patient. While laparoscopic repair can be performed using smaller incisions, it offers limited visibility and mobility for the surgeon. Robotic surgery uses a 3D camera that increases visibility for the surgeon.

Minimally invasive procedures provide multiple benefits to patients, such as:

  • Smaller incision size
  • Less blood loss
  • Lower infection rates
  • Shorter operating room times
  • Quicker return to work and daily activities
  • Some patients experience significantly less postoperative pain

How to Prepare for Robotic Hernia Repair

Pre-procedure instructions will be explained to patients by the surgeon. Since the surgery will be performed under general anesthesia, it will be necessary to stop eating and drinking at least eight hours before surgery.

Patients taking medications should ask their doctor if they should continue taking their prescriptions as usual on the days leading up to surgery. This is because certain medications can affect the body’s ability to clot blood, which can lead to complications during and/or after surgery.

Post Robotic Hernia Repair Treatment

Most patients are able to go home the same day of a robotic hernia repair procedure. Typically, patients can return to work within one week of surgery and can go back to their daily activities within one to two weeks.

Patients will be given postoperative instructions by the surgeon. It is important to adhere to these instructions as well as schedule and attend all necessary follow-up appointments.

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