Army’s Robotic-Assisted Surgery Could Be Groundbreaking For Women

By Marcy Sanchez, Army.mil

WBAMC introduces robotic-assisted tubal re-anastomosis Dr. Jennifer Orr, urogynecologist, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, stands in front of WBAMC’s robotic surgical system which was used to perform the first robotic-assisted tubal re-anastomosis at WBAMC, Dec. 28, 2016. The introduction of robotic assisted tubal re-anastomosis, commonly known as tubal ligation reversal, provides eligible beneficiaries with a third option for the procedure, an option studies show produces higher success rates for post-operation pregnancy. (Photo by Marcy Sanchez, William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office)

William Beaumont Army Medical Center performed its first robotic-assisted surgery for tubal re-anastomosis at WBAMC, Dec. 28, 2016.

Tubal re-anastomosis, more commonly known as tubal ligation reversal, is the process of reconnecting or untying the fallopian tubes, depending on the method of tubal ligation, to restore the chance of pregnancy.

“(Robotic-assisted surgery) allows our beneficiaries to have a tubal re-anastomosis with a minimally invasive technique,” said Dr. Jennifer Orr, the urogynecologist who performed the first surgery. “There’s a better chance of success in a minimally invasive approach and shorter recovery time for the patient.”

While not all tubal ligations may be reversed, eligible beneficiaries wishing to undergo the procedure may utilize robotic-assisted surgery to optimize their chance of pregnancy after the procedure. Other options available to patients wishing to reverse tubal ligation include open incision and laparoscopic.

Studies in the Journal of the Turkish-German Gynecological Association showed differences in success rates between open and robotic-assisted surgeries with 67.6 percent and more than 90 percent success rates respectively. Part of that success is attributed to the mobility and accessibility that robotic surgery offers.

“It’s a little harder to achieve success with laparoscopic due to the limitations you have with traditional laparoscopy,” said Orr. “The benefits of robotic surgery include enhanced magnification, improved mobility and articulation of the instruments and visualization.”

Like other robotic-assisted surgeries, benefits of the new-to-WBAMC surgery include less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and less pain for some patients. Also, while the open-incision approach to reverse tubal ligation is an inpatient procedure, the robotic-assisted approach allows patients to go home the same day.

Women interested in any tubal re-anastomosis procedure undergo an examination to evaluate for candidacy for the procedure. For more information, those interested should contact their primary care managers.

“It’s really beneficial that we can offer robotic surgery for our patients,” said Orr. “Every patient has a discussion about the different surgical approaches available; it’s definitely more appealing when they hear the benefits of this approach.”

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