The prospect of surgery, whether major or minor, can be a highly stressful experience for a woman. Even still, surgery is essential for the diagnosis and treatment of certain gynecologic cancers. The good news is you’re not alone. At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC), our gynecologic oncology specialists offer compassionate care and the latest cancer treatment options. From preparation to recovery, we strive to find the least invasive approach that suits your stage of life and health needs.
Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic Cancers
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, our goal is to help you return to normal activities as quickly as possible through cutting-edge treatment options that improve your life. To help make this happen, we offer robotic-assisted surgery for our gynecologic cancer patients. Robotic-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) which allows our surgeon, Dr. Donato, to use techniques that limit the size and number of incisions that are needed to be made. This offers you distinct advantages, such as:
- Less pain and scarring
- Lower risk of infection, bleeding, or other complications
- Shorter hospital stays (if hospitalization is required)
- Faster recovery and return to daily activities
During a MIS, access is gained through tiny incisions, where a small state-of-the-art camera and instrumentation can be used to visualize and remove the cancer. MIS can be performed with a laparoscope or with the da Vinci® Surgical System. The latter offers additional capabilities than traditional laparoscopy, allowing more women to receive MIS.
Over the years, laparoscopy has gained a leading role, becoming the gold standard method for a wide range of gynecologic procedures. In laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon makes a few small cuts, rather than a single large one. A long, thin tube with a tiny camera, called a laparoscope, is inserted into one of the small cuts. This camera projects images from the inside of your body onto a monitor, giving your surgeon better visibility. Your surgeon will then insert special surgery tools through the other small cuts to remove the tumor and some tissue.
Typically, laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia. This means that you will be unconscious for the procedure.
Gone are the days where gynecologic surgery means a long hospital stay and a long recovery. At RMCC, we offer a different option for women—robotic-assisted surgery. Robotic-assisted surgery is advanced laparoscopic surgery that enables your surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgery with greater precision resulting in better outcomes. Robotic surgery systems use specialized robotic instruments and a unique 3D high definition view inside the body.
da Vinci Surgical System
We feel that you should have the best form of surgical treatment possible, which is why our Gynecologic Oncology Surgeon, Dr. Donato, operates using the latest in robotic technology, the da Vinci Surgical System. Like laparoscopic surgery, robotic-assisted surgery is done through just a few small incisions in the abdomen. Through these incisions, a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny instruments are inserted. Dr. Donato then uses the robot to control these instruments inside the abdomen to perform the needed procedure. In most cases, you will be treated as an outpatient with the option of going home the same day, if doing well.
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers the majority of robotic-assisted surgeries are performed for patients with gynecologic conditions, including cancer, that requires a hysterectomy as part of treatment for cervical cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, or ovarian cancer.
Other Surgical/Treatment Options for Gynecologic Cancers
While MIS is wonderfully advanced, it’s important to understand that not all patients are candidates for this surgical approach. Sometimes, neoadjuvant therapy before surgery is needed in order to shrink the tumor to a size that’s easier for surgical removal. Examples of neoadjuvant therapy include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
If your disease is at a more advanced stage, where the cancer is no longer confined and has spread, surgery may be combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy to kill any residual cancer left behind. This is called adjuvant (or multi-modality) therapy.
Chemotherapy administered directly into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy) is also an option in some patients who have had optimal surgical resection of their tumor with minimal remaining disease.
Dr. Donato and his team will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your gynecologic surgery options.