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Urologists report success using robot-assisted surgery for urinary abnormality
Date:8/18/2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Ashok Hemal, M.D., a urologic surgeon from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and colleagues have reported success using robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery to repair abnormal openings between the bladder and vagina known as fistulas. Reporting on their experience with seven patients, Hemal and colleagues have the world's largest known success with the procedure.

Their report appears online in the Journal of Urology and will be included in a future print issue.

This type of fistula can result in frequent urinary tract infections and the leakage of urine from the vagina and can be mistaken for continence. All women had previously undergone unsuccessful surgeries to repair the problem. In most cases, the patients in the report would undergo abdominal surgery requiring a large incision. Instead, centimeter-sized instruments and a small camera were inserted through five small incisions in the abdomen.

"There was less blood loss with this procedure than with conventional surgery and there is the potential for a faster recovery," said Hemal, director of the Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery Program at Wake Forest Baptist. "The results were outstanding and suggest the robot-assisted surgery is an attractive option for fistulas that would normally require abdominal surgery."

Robot-assisted surgery is a popular option for heart and prostate surgery and in recent years physicians have started using it for other procedures. The da Vinci surgical system has four robotic arms with centimeter-sized instruments attached. The surgeon controls these arms with hand and finger movements while viewing the surgical site on a screen. The tiny instruments as well as the ability to see the surgical site at tenfold magnification allow for very precise, refined movements.

The type of fistula that the surgeons repaired can occur one to six weeks after gynecologic or obstetric surgery,
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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