Amber’s Robotic Hysterectomy
daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 46
Location: Rochester MN USA
I underwent what I was told would be a routine robotically assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy as the recommended treatment for my uterine fibroids July 24, 2017. After looking at every other possible option (myomectomy, embolization, and focused ultrasound,) the OBGYN said the only real alternative for any long term relief would be a total hysterectomy, and he referred me to an OBGYN oncology surgeon. I had a consultation with this surgeon and was told she would be performing a robotic assisted hysterectomy as they are the safest and require the smallest amount of recovery time. There were no other options presented, and I trusted her and assumed this must be the way all hysterectomies are performed now.
During the surgery I suffered injury to my sigmoid colon as well as a through and through jejunum perforation. Unfortunately, the surgeon was unaware and failed to further test when I complained of pain the following day. I was discharged and sent home. The following night I woke up with horrific pain. I called 911 and instructed the paramedics to immediately take me the nearest hospital (different than the hospital I had chosen to perform the hysterectomy.) The ER doctors quickly acted upon what was shown in the CT scan, and I was taken into surgery.
I had an immense amount of sepsis (~ ½ gallon) and required 2 exploratory surgeries, a JP drain, and two abdomen washouts to fix the mess the first surgeon had created utilizing the da Vinci robot. I had part of my Sigmoid Colon removed during the first surgery and woke up with a colostomy bag as well as a very long laparotomy incision.
Unfortunately, my sigmoid colon wasn’t the only organ damaged during my hysterectomy as the continuous blood work and tests still showed issues. Shockingly, I had TWO injuries from the surgery, a Sigmoid injury as well as a through and through small bowel perforation.
I went back into surgery two days later and had yet another intestinal resection. I spent the rest of the summer in the hospital recovering and was discharged with home nursing care and 50 pounds lighter with not enough strength to step up from the street to the sidewalk without help.
About 6 months later, I have now returned home from a follow up appointment as I had my colostomy takedown in late December. I have a ton of adhesions and will have serious physical limitations for the rest of my life. I have been told many times over how lucky I am… This is my da Vinci Story
What to ask your doctor:
There are many concerns about adequate training so make sure you ask how many robotic surgeries your doctor has done. Most articles I have read say it can take anywhere from 300-1200 robotic surgeries to become a qualified surgeon. I have also learned there are no guidelines or requirements for training, and no way to verify how many robotic surgeries your doctor has done.
Second opinions are very important and best to get opinions from both robotic and traditional surgeons. Your medical records are yours and you should keep copies of everything.
Keep in mind that even if your doctor is experienced, you may have to worry about the machine itself. It has been known to malfunction, such as falling of burnt/broken pieces of instruments into the patient, electrical arcing of instruments, unintended operation of instruments, system errors, and video/imaging problems. There have been over 60 recalls for this manufacture that only makes davinci robots
Good luck to you, be your own advocate, and ask questions about the pros and cons of surgery itself, along with the different ways the surgery can be preformed. I wish you the very best!
While 78% of non-physicians perceived advantages of robotic surgery only 30% of physicians shared this view and only 30% of physicians would prefer robotic surgery if they themselves needed surgery.
Not all bacteria can be eliminated from robots even using the manufacture’s cleaning guides. Contaminates still remain.