TOG release: Robot assisted surgery in gynaecology results in fewer errors being made and is best for the patient

Robot assisted surgery can overcome many of the difficulties posed by laparoscopic surgery in gynaecological procedures says a new review published today in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG).

The da Vinci Surgical System is the latest robotic technology and enables the surgeon to have a three-dimensional view of the patient. There are only 20 systems available in the UK.

This new review outlines the advantages and disadvantages to this technology. 

The main advantages of the robotic surgery are that the surgeon can control the endoscope using the operating arms and foot and pedal and is not reliant on an assistant. There are different sensitivity settings on the console enabling the surgeon to choose the degree of movement of the instrument and the surgeon is seated with their arms rested lowering surgeon fatigue.

Another clear advantage of robotic surgery is that fewer errors are made than with straight-stick surgery says the review.

A recent review of hysterectomies compared operations conducted by robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery. The results showed that robotic surgery was quicker, reduced the hospital stay of the patient and resulted in less blood loss.

In addition, oncology surgery would also benefit from robot assisted surgery says the review. A previous study also showed that blood loss was reduced in robotic surgery in comparison to open and laparoscopic surgery

However, cost is the biggest drawback with the initial cost of purchasing the equipment combined with the servicing charges.

Furthermore, the robot takes about 20 minutes to set up and takes up floor space in the operating theatre.

The system also requires training of doctors to use the equipment properly, training of the theatre staff to set up for operating and a group of trained nurses needs to be established to keep setup times to a minimum.

Matt Hewitt, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland and co-author of the review said:

“This new technology is very exciting. Since its introduction the da Vinci surgical system has been updated three times and this still only represents the start of what is still an emerging technology.

“This kind of minimal access surgery enables experienced laparoscopic surgeons to perform more complex procedures in even in the most challenging of patients.”

TOG’s Editor –in-Chief, Jason Waugh said:

“This latest evolution in surgery has been shown to be safer for the patient. However cost is the biggest drawback.

“It is important that the relevant training is given to all who use the new technology to maximise the benefits it can bring.”


For more information please call Naomi Weston on 020 7772 6357 or email


The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG) is published quarterly and is the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) medical journal for continuing professional development. TOG is an editorially independent, peer reviewed journal aimed at providing health professions with updated information about scientific, medical and clinical developments in the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology.


Hewitt M, O’Carroll M, O’Reilly B. Robot-assisted surgery in gynaecology. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2011;13:183–188.

Date published: 18/07/2011
Published by: Naomi Weston
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