CUTTING-EDGE technology has been used to perform two hysterectomies on women who were discharged within 24 hours of being operated on.
Westmead Private Hospital's Doctor Felix Chan performed Australia's first single-incision robotic hysterectomy procedure on two patients.
The procedure, where the women's reproductive organs were removed by a two centimetre incision in the navel, reduces operating times for surgeons and recovery time for patients.
Dr Chan said the first procedure went smoothly with only 20 millilitres of blood lost compared with up to 400 millilitres of blood lost during an open hysterectomy.
"I most definitely think this technology will be the way of the future both for robotic surgery but also for performing hysterectomies in Australia," Dr Chan said.
Hysterectomy procedures are usually done using an open abdominal or laparoscopic approach where patients spend between three and seven days in hospital and up to two months to recover.
Called the da Vinci surgical system, it uses instruments that work more efficiently and precisely than conventional laparoscopic instruments, Dr Chan said.
"It takes less time, and causes minimal pain, meaning the patient's recovery time is significantly shortened," he said.
Camden dentist Dr Theresa Truong, who was the first patient in Australia to undergo the robotic procedure, was thrilled with her results. Undergoing the hysterectomy to lessen her chances of ovarian cancer after already overcoming breast cancer, she said she had no pain.
“My friends had all told me to expect to stay in hospital a week and to expect some pain but when I woke from the operation I remember turning to the nurse and asking ‘where’s the pain?’
''I’m still waiting for it now, but there’s been none,” she said.
“Surgeries are so terrible. You have to endure so much pain and discomfort but with this surgery, you go straight home. It’s amazing.”
Dr Chan’s second patient, Bowral local, Katherine Thorpe is just as pleased with her surgery’s outcome, despite being initially apprehensive about being one of the first in Australia to receive the procedure.
“I was quite nervous about being one of the first, but I figured if everybody thought ‘because it’s new I won’t have a go’ well then no new procedures would come about,would they?” she said.
“Dr Chan is an expert in his field and is one of the best so I thought if I am going to get this new procedure, it might as well be by one of the best.”
Whilst still relatively new, Westmead Private Hospital has fast made a name for itself as a facility of world leading doctors and advanced surgical procedures.
“Robotic assisted surgery, which is also used extensively in urology and colorectal surgery, is the next phase in the evolution of minimally invasive surgery and healthcare in Australia,” said Tim Daniel, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We believe this positions our facility at the forefront of robotic surgery in Australia.”
The procedure already has two very strong advocates in Dr Truong and Mrs Thorpe, the latter of whom says her recovery has been incredible in comparison to her friends who received conventional hysterectomies.
“You can’t even see the scar and the bruising around my belly button is almost gone,” Mrs Thorpe said.
“I have spoken to friends that have had hysterectomies, one laparoscopic and one open and I think that I was pretty lucky compared to them.
''My recovery period was just so much quicker. I hope the outcomes are this good for everybody.”