Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is a very precise way of performing laparoscopic (keyhole) operations. The surgeon sits at a console and controls the instruments that are held and moved precisely by the robot. This gives the surgeon the advantage of a three-dimensional (3-D), high-definition view, the control of the camera and three robotic ‘arms’. The instruments are all articulated with a robotic ‘wrist’, which precisely mimics the surgeon’s hand movements, thereby giving great surgical dexterity. The surgeon also suffers less fatigue compared to laparoscopic surgery because they are comfortably seated at the console.

Robotic surgery gives the patient all the advantages of laparoscopic surgery: small, cosmetic incisions, less post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, a reduced hospital stay and a quicker return to normal activities.

The gynaecological operations suited for robotic gynaecology surgery include: robotic hysterectomy, robotic myomectomy (removal of fibroids), robotic excision of endometriosis and robotic sacrocolpopexy (treatment of vaginal vault prolapse). Many gynaecological operations can more simply be achieved with laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery rather than employing the use of the da Vinci robot. Some gynaecological cancer operations (uterine, cervical and some ovarian) are also suitable for robotic gynaecology surgery, however, Mr Elkington is a benign gynaecologist and refers cancer patients on to a gynae-oncolgy surgeon.

Robotic gynaecology surgery is particularly beneficial for obese patients. This is because during the robotic surgery, the surgeon has an excellent view of the patient’s pelvic anatomy. Patients then benefit from improved wound healing as they avoid the problems associated with large abdominal incisions in obese patients.

Mr Elkington is a leading figure in robotic surgery in the UK. He has been performing and training other surgeons in robotic surgery since 2009. He was the President of The British and Irish Association of Robotic Gynaecologists (BIARGS) from 2019-2021.