Get your fibroids on the dance floor and do the robot

Glanced over some news feeds yesterday and noticed this headline under Yahoo! News | Uterine Fibroids:

Robot-assisted surgery removes fibroids but preserves women’s fertility

You know I love robots and other gizmos (because I’m a geek) so I had to click the link. The story revolves around Anna Crowder who needed a fibroid removed but still wanted to have a child.

From the article:

That’s where the robot – called the da Vinci Surgical System – comes in. The robot-assisted myomectomy combines the thoroughness of the traditional open myomectomy with a minimally invasive procedure, said Dr. Arnold Advincula, an associate professor of gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Read the article to find out more about Anna Crowder and this procedure:
Robot-assisted surgery removes fibroids but preserves women’s fertility

Information on the surgical system:
The da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System

View a video of the robot-assisted surgery:
Robotic Myomectomy Enables Treatment of Uterine Fibroids While Preserving Fertility

Pretty cool, huh?


Related Posts:
How are you feeling after your Laparoscopic Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy (part 2)?


117 Responses to “Get your fibroids on the dance floor and do the robot”

  1. Robotic Myo Fan Says:

    Amy – Good luck to you! I’m assuming you want to keep your uterus… Just curious, have you gone into menopause yet/if so has that affected your fibroid symptoms?

    I’d be interested to hear your story b/c all the information out there says that once you hit a “certain age” it makes no sense to have fibroids removed… and that hormonal changes will take care of things.

    Even in my experience some doctors (not gyns) tried to talk me out of getting surgery, recommending that I just let the tumors sit. But Dr Jacoby thought that because of my age I was on a trajectory where they would just keep growing. I agree with your sentiment and am happy I didn’t put off getting it out…

    Anyway I hope you can find a doctor to work with and get the result that you want…

  2. Amy Says:

    RM Fan: I have gone into menopause but am on a low estrogen patch to combat some of those symptoms! Grrr… yet I didn’t take anything for a while and there was no change in the size of my fibroids… I think I’m still producing some estrogen on my own, so maybe over a long time they will shrink, but how long is that? And I don’t know how long I’m going to want/need to be on HRT! If one’s fibroids aren’t causing a lot of symptoms that is probably fine advice, but in my case, I have back pain that *may* be caused by the fibroids (surprisingly Dr. Jacoby said they don’t cause back pain, yet a lot of women here have claimed immediate relief after surgery!) there is also some incontinence, pain during sex, and of course I hate the big belly! I’m no longer bleeding profusely, but the endometrial ablation worked wonders for that.

    It also really bugs me that even before the research came out against using hormone replacement therapy, doctors were telling women menopause would take care of everything, but I never heard the caveat about not being able to go on HRT. Given that some women took/take it for years, what good is waiting for menopause!

  3. Robotic Myo Fan Says:

    Wow… so sorry to hear about all of that. I’m glad that you put your story out there… other women will benefit I’m sure.

    Menopause is regularly touted as a fibroid cure-all… to the point where women like me (who are around 15-20 years from being menopausal) are advised by some docs to wait for it. Ok, in my case these docs were a urologist and an internal med practitioner, but I’m sure other women are being given similar advice. As a 35 yo who’s 6 days out from surgery I can wholeheartedly say that I am soooo glad I did it.

    From the sounds of what you’re dealing with the “menopause cure-all theory” is not a universal truth. And I’ll bet a lot of women are suffering in silence.

    I’ve read that menopause doesn’t guarantee shrinkage… just that growth will at least slow (or stop). So if you’re having troubling symptoms then you should have removal options. Period.

    I really wish you the best of luck and that you find a doc who’ll work with you!!!

  4. sofiaW Says:

    Hi Everyone. I just wanted to give an update. I had the robotic myomectomy at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Dr. Garguilo) in Boston back in March 2009. As I posted a few months ago, the surgery was a total success. He was able to remove the fibroid in 4.5hours. It was 13cm. In any event, fast forward to today and I’m three months pregnant. We had to wait five months before trying and since I’m 36 years old, it seemed like an eternity to wait. So far everything is going well. Just wanted to post in case anyone is thinking about having the robotic surgery, in part to help with fertility. We tried to get pregnant for a year prior to the surgery.
    Good luck to everyone!

    • Beti Says:

      Thanks for the update! I had the laparoscopic myomectomy, the doctor didn’t need to use the robot because my fibroids were easy to remove (one pedunculated, 4 more that seemed to be just subserous) but I also had a hysteroscopic myomectomy, and I was told to wait a couple of months to try to get pregnant. I’m almost 41, so a couple of months are precious time! but hopefully I’m as lucky as you!

  5. Jims Girl Says:

    Sofia-I am going to BWH (Dr Garguillo) this wed for Davinci surgery. Scared to death about the procedure and anesthesia. How was your experience?

  6. Sofia Says:

    Hi JimsGirl-
    I know EXACTLY how you are feeling, but don’t worry because the procedure will be over before you even realize it began. Just this Saturday I had lunch with another one of Dr. Garg’s patients who had the robotic myomectomy in September and I wish there was a way that we could talk to you and put all your fears at ease. There is so much to say that I don’t know if I can put it all on this comment board. But here are a few things I want to mention for sure:

    1. Anasthesia is scary and was really the scariest part of it for me and for my other myomectomy friend. What made it even scarier was that we were going to be “under” for so long. Both of our surgeries lasted just under 5 hours. But you know what, before you know it, it’s over. The last thing I remembered was being wheeled into the operating room and then, “poof, i was waking up in the recovery room.” It was amazing. And, of course, you probably met with the anesthesiologist and if you were like me, you asked him/her why some people inexplicably don’t wake up after being put under general anesthesia. He explained that it really has everything to do with a weak heart and that only if I was someone who couldn’t walk across the room or up a flight of stairs, would he be concerned. Being otherwise healthy, there is no reason for any complications. He also said I had a greater chance of being struck by lightning than something going wrong due to anesthesia during surgery. For some reason, that stuck with me.

    2. The one thing you definitely need to be prepared for is the GAS pain that you will experience after the surgery. It is the absolute worst pain that resonates up around your collar bone. No one really prepared me for that and it was scary at first. You aren’t guaranteed to experience it but if you do, you’ll at least know what it is. There’s not much they can do to help with it, but it goes away after a few days.

    You are going to be fine. I know it. For now, just try to rest.

    Good luck!


    • Jims Girl Says:

      Hi Sofia,
      Thank you! A couple of questions that I didnt think to ask– 1 what did you pack for the hospital stay? The gas pain–is it from the stuff they put in your tummy to make it easier for the surgeon? Or was it gas like normal–“I can’t go” pain? Can you take gas-ex or something like it? How long did you stay in the hospital? How long before you went back to work? And, I forgot to say CONGRATS on your pregnancy. We are hopeful about having children after the surgery, too.

      Thank you again for the information you shared!

  7. Sofia Says:

    Hi Jims Girl,

    I am so sorry that I didn’t get back sooner today. I wasn’t near my computer and typing on a blackberry just isn’t the same! To tell you the truth, I didn’t put much thought into my hospital bag other than what I was going to wear home. Until I put on my “going home” clothes I stayed in a hospital gown. It wasn’t exactly fancy but it was comfortable and I didn’t really care. I also brought a bath robe because they make you get up and walk around within hours of the surgery and it’s less than ideal to walk around in just the hospital gown because it feels so “open.” As for going home, i packed a big t-shirt and some velour sweats that I could wear really low down on my hips so it wouldn’t interfere with the incisions.

    As for the gas pain, it’s the result of them inflating your abdomen for easy access. It sort of resonates up around the collar bone and down the arms. The nurses gave me some type of gas tablet but it did NOTHING and they were pretty upfront about it not really working for this type of gas pain. The pain pretty much strikes whenever you sit up or down. It’s basically whenever the gas travels through the body, which happens when you change positions. The good thing is that it only lasted about three days for me!

    Within a week and a half of the surgery, I felt really really good. It was kind of surreal because my husband and mom had to keep reminding me that I had major surgery. I got married about six weeks after the surgery because I was afraid to schedule the wedding any sooner than that, but in retrospect I could easily have danced the night away at my wedding within 4 weeks of the surgery. I know that one of Dr. G’s other patients went back to work 4 weeks later and if I remember correctly, she went back part time for the first two weeks and then full time. I work from home part-time so I started back to work about two weeks after surgery. No commute though and I could walk around or lay down whenever I wanted to so I don’t think I am good example.

    I hope this helps! I will be at the Brigham tomorrow for a doctor’s appointment so I will send positive thoughts your way. I am certain you will be fine!!!!!

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my pregnancy. Just think, in about six months, you, too, will likely be starting a family and that, at the end of the day, is what makes this whole surgery-anasthesia-gas-recovery thing well worth it!!


    • Jims Girl Says:

      Hi Sophia-I am post-op and home. Thank you so much or the positive vibes you sent to me when you were at your apptmt! All went well! I was in BWH only for two nights following surgery. Everyone at that hospital was incredibly kind and gentle. I am so glad we found Dr Garguilio and went for the DaVinci surgery. I feel weak, have abdominal pain, but overall feel better than I had imagined! I just read your responses about anesthesia and a “to go home” bag (I did not pack much–good thing used nothing except the yoga pants/top to go home in). As I began to change into a gown in the pre-op area I told my husband I couldn’t do it; he reminded me of the bowel prep and said if I chickened out now, I’d have to go through that nightmare again…I changed into the gown. All the various people who would be in OR came in and introduced themselves. The anesthesiologist gave me something for the nerves (twice). I don’t remember going to surgery. What I do remember was the “race to recovery.” When they wheeled me from the post-op area to my room–it felt like they were running and hitting every possible threshold or bump. It seemed like it to forever. Once in the room, I remember chatting with my husband a little. The overall memory–positive. Glad we went to BWH. All the discomfort is worth the possibility of bearing a little one.

      Can I pick your brain some more? How was your appetite post surgery? I am finding I am not hungary at all. My husband is making me eat-toast, fruit, broth, soup….but I have no hunger. Did you experience that?

      Congrats again–this time on your wedding! That was very ambitious of you to plan your wedding so soon after the surgery. Hopefully your GFs and mom did alot to make all the wedding planning go smoothly for you. You must be due pretty soon, eh? How are you feeling? If it is not too nosy to ask, did you do IVF? (If it is too nosy-I am sorry and please do not respond). We are trying to plan our next steps…

      Hope you are well!
      Peace and Love!

  8. Sofia Says:

    Hi Jims Girl,

    I am SO HAPPY it went well, but not the least bit surprised! Congratulations on having it behind you now!!!

    There is so much to say in response to your latest post. I can’t believe I forgot to mention the colon prep. We still use that as a “worst case” scenario in our household, i.e., “well, as long as I don’t have to do a colon prep, it can’t be too bad.” I spoke to Dr. G the other day because I wanted to let him know my c section was scheduled for the first. If you contact him, he’ll give you my private email address, which may make more sense 🙂


    P.S. No IVF. We waited six months, per Dr. G’s orders, and then tried. It worked the first month!

  9. Jims Girl Says:

    Hi Sophia, I asked Dr G about you when I was in Boston on 4/2. He took my email address to give to you. He felt better about doing it that way. He said he was going to go up to see you. Hopefully he did. I’m sure your C section went well and that you are adjusting to motherhood. Congratulations!

  10. Chicago Myo Says:

    Hi Everyone:

    I just wanted to share my very recent experience with a Robotic Myomectomy. I had surgery a week and one day ago and feel amazing! The surgery went perfectly; they removed a 12 cm fibroid and two pea-sized ones, and 4 hours later, I was on my way to recovery! I had a little nausea from the anesthesia but it was minor. And my appetite didn’t come back at all until 2-3 days post-surgery. I spent one night in the hospital and slept a ton once I got home.

    The recovery has been better than I ever could have possibly imagined. I have almost no pain, very little spotting (it’s been heavy at times but seems to be getting lighter), and am feeling great overall. The worst part – as my doc warned me – is that I get a little tired in the late afternoon. I can already tell that I’m peeing so much less already! Right before my surgery, I was getting up to go to the bathroom 2-3 times in the middle of the night. I have slept completely through the night the last two nights. Wow! So relieved the surgery is over and I am on the mend.

  11. Sweet T Says:

    Good Evening Ladies:

    Just want to share my story with you. I had the robotic surgery almost two weeks ago, with Dr. Gargulo at BWH. I am so glad that I came to this website to find out that there are women out there that went thru the surgery with the same docotr that I did.

    Your sucess story Sophia makes me feel so warm and happy inside because one day I will be in the same shoes that you are in.

    I would like to know was your fibroid in your uterus or somewhere else?

    I have been trying to get pregnant for 12yrs. I had four fibroids that range from 1-7cm all inside my uterus. One of the fibroids was hanging off of my uterus lining.

    please share with me where was your fibroid place at and also how many did you have?

    CONGRATULATIONS with your sucess…. keep us posted please

    • sophia Says:

      Hi Sweet T,
      Sorry for taking so long to reply. Finding a free moment to sit down by the computer in peace and quiet is more difficult than I ever imagined 🙂

      I’m so glad you went to Dr. G. I hope your recovery has gone well. By now I am sure you are totally recovered and the surgery is a distant memory!

      In response to your questions, I had one giant fibroid that was in the myometrium. The fibroid was approximately 13X10x11. It had not broken through the endometrial wall.

      I hope with all my heart that you do end up in my shoes one day, as you state in your post. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I cannot imagine how frustrating and disappointing and difficult it must be to try for so many years to get pregnant.

      Wishing you a continued smooth recovery,


  12. SP Says:

    Hi Sweet T, Jims Girl, and Chicago Myo…I had the Davinci Myo 9days ago, but i’m still having pain in my abdomen. Yesterday I half of my face broke out in an unexplained rash and the gas will not go away. I’m afraid to eat anything!

  13. Marley Says:

    Has anyone had the daVinci hysterectomy? I am scheduled to have it done next month. Had a myomectomy in 2003 and lysis of adhesion in 2009 (adhesion probably caused by scar tissue from myomectomy. Curious about recovery and HRT. my ovaries appear to be fused to my uterus so I’m not sure they can be saved. Anybody have difficulty with bladder function. My surgeon says that the bladder may not function properly because of pressure from the fibroids.

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