Health News Articles

Oh Baby! Robot Assisted Surgery Helped Couple Conceive

Jul 1, 2014

Nicole Barclay waited a long time for her precious son, Mason. For years the Ewing resident had hoped for a baby, but Barclay had uterine fibroids—benign tumors—that prevented her from conceiving.

Treatment with da Vinci Surgical System®
In December 2010, Barclay had a traditional open myomectomy—an open surgical procedure to remove the fibroids while preserving the uterus—but still was not able to conceive. A consultation with Bruce Pierce, MD, FACOG, board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and a member of the Medical Staff at University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP), confirmed the tumors had returned and were growing. In 2013, Dr. Pierce, an expert in minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System®, recommended a myomectomy using a minimally invasive robotic surgical procedure.

“I had the da Vinci® procedure in March and, considering my last experience, I have to admit I wasn’t optimistic that I would get pregnant,” says Barclay, 38. “By May I was totally surprised to find out that I was, and the February delivery went smoothly with Dr. Pierce. I would definitely recommend the procedure to other women.”

How does it work?
Robot-assisted surgery is most commonly used to treat uterine fibroids, but it is also regularly used for hysterectomy and to treat other gynecological conditions including endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, benign masses, hysterectomy and uterine prolapse. The robotic system may be used in place of the traditional open surgical procedure when medication and other non-invasive measures are unsuccessful.

Compared to traditional, open surgical procedures, robotic procedures generally result in quicker recoveries; less pain, blood loss, and scarring; and shorter hospital stays. In fact, many procedures are done on an outpatient basis.

Improving with Technology
“When people hear the word robot, they often think it’s a machine performing the procedure, but the surgeon is manipulating the instruments,” says Dr. Pierce, who has extensive experience in daVinci® surgery and has helped train many physicians to use the system. “Using high-definition and 3D technology, plus the fact that the instruments can be manipulated more naturally in your hands, robot-assisted surgery can successfully treat anything from an extremely small tumor to one the size of a basketball.”

As a result of its precision, most women are candidates for robot-assisted gynecological surgery. The surgery often leaves patients feeling better than they have in a long time. Since the recovery time after robot-assisted surgery is short, most patients are able to return to their everyday activities more quickly than if they had undergone traditional surgery.

For more information about the da Vinci Surgical System® at University Medical Center of Princeton or to find a da Vinci® surgeon on staff, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496).