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Robot Technology Improves Vaginal Prolapse Surgery

The condition occurs after hysterectomy in 1 out of 10 patients

FRIDAY, July 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery is an effective alternative to traditional surgery for treatment of a gynecologic condition called vaginal vault prolapse, U.S. researchers report.

Vaginal vault prolapse is a collapse of the vagina that can occur after a hysterectomy. One out of nine women in the United States will have a hysterectomy, and about 10 percent of them will develop vaginal vault prolapse.

Robotic surgery involves the use of a device that helps speed up the repair and simplifies technically difficult aspects of the surgery.

A Mayo Clinic study of 30 women who had robot-assisted laparoscopic repair concluded that this method has the following advantages over traditional open surgical repair:

  • Less overall recovery time.
  • An overnight hospital stay, rather than two to four days.
  • Potentially lower risk of post-surgery bleeding.
  • Much less pain. Fifty percent of laparoscopic surgery patients are discharged from hospital with only over-the-counter painkillers.
  • Women who, due to health issues, may not be able to tolerate the open surgery may be candidates for the laparoscopic repair.

Currently, robot-assisted laparoscopic repair is not widely available in the United States, due to a shortage of trained surgeons.

"My prediction is, with enough time and training, the robot-assisted, laparoscopic surgery will be the main procedure done in the future for women with major vaginal vault prolapse," urologist and study lead investigator Dr. Daniel Elliott said in a prepared statement.

The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

More information

The U.S National Library of Medicine has information on uterine prolapse.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, July 21, 2006
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