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Gynecologists Question Robotic Hysterectomies

©2013 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

da Vinci Surgical Robot System
©2013 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

One in nine women will undergo a hysterectomy during her lifetime, making it one of the most common surgical procedures for women. With more and more women opting for robotic hysterectomies, the president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), James T. Breeden, issued a strongly worded statement.

“Many women today are hearing about the claimed advantages of robotic surgery for hysterectomy, thanks to widespread marketing and advertising. Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient. It is important to separate the marketing hype from the reality when considering the best surgical approach for hysterectomies.”

Breeden’s statement also included the following information:

  • Expertise with robotic hysterectomies is limited and varies widely among both hospitals and surgeons.
  • There is no good data proving that robotic hysterectomies are even as good as – let alone better – than existing, and far less costly, minimally invasive alternatives.
  • Aggressive direct to consumer marketing of the latest medical technologies may mislead the public into believing they are the best choice.
  • A study of over 264,000 hysterectomy patients in 441 hospitals found that robotics added an average of $2,000 per procedure without any demonstrable benefit.

  • An estimated $960 million to $1.9 billion will be added to the health care system if robotic surgery is used for all hysterectomies each year.

Women should be aware of their options




Vaginal Hysterectomy Performed through a small opening at the top of the vagina without any abdominal incisions. Least invasive and least expensive option. Based on its well-documented advantages and low complication rates, this is the procedure of choice whenever technically feasible. 
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy A small incision is made in the belly button and a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon watches the image from this camera on a TV screen and performs the operative procedure. Two or three other tiny incisions are made in the lower abdomen. Specialized instruments are inserted and used for the removal process.  This is the second least invasive and costly option for patients.
Total Abdominal Hysterectomy (TAH) The surgeon makes an incision approximately five inches long in the abdominal wall, cutting though skin and connective tissue to reach the uterus. Invasive and costly procedure. Patients face a longer recovery time and a large scar.
Robotic Hysterectomy Robot-assisted hysterectomy surgery is similar to the conventional laparoscopic technique. But the procedure is performed by a surgeon sitting at a console some distance from the operating table who uses hand and foot controls to manipulate surgical tools that are attached to a robot’s arms.  Similar to laparoscopic approach, but surgeons have widely varying experience.  Adds about $2000 to the cost of the procedure.


The da Vinci robot is the subject of lawsuits across the nation.  Plaintiffs have filed complaints alleging the surgical device was responsible for burns and other heat-related damage to intestines, ureter, bowels and other organs.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries because of the da Vinci Surgical Robot, you need an experienced defective medical device lawyer fighting for your rights. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out our free, no-obligation online consultation form to learn more. For more information on the da Vinci Robot, click HERE.