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Press Releases

December 16, 2008

Robotic Radical Hysterectomy Results in Shorter Hospital Stays

Researchers compare the use of the DaVinci robot to open procedures in hysterectomy

Boston, MA – New technologies now allow surgery to be performed with less impact on patient quality of life. As the trend toward minimally invasive surgery grows, robotic assisted surgery has become an appealing tool for gynecologic oncology surgeons. However, to date, there is little data to confirm the benefits of this technology. New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) compares robotic radical hysterectomy (RRH) using the DaVinci robot to classically performed open radical hysterectomies (ORH) in patients with stage I and II cervical cancer. Researchers found that RRH results in lower blood loss and shorter length of stay compared to ORH. The findings are available online and published in the December print issue of Gynecologic Oncology.

“Robotic radical hysterectomy is a new and important method for both surgeons and patients as the entire field of surgery trends toward minimally invasive procedures. In our study, we show that this approach can reduce both blood loss and the length of hospital stay for the patient,” said Colleen Feltmate, MD a gynecologic oncology surgeon at BWH and senior author on the study.

Researchers reviewed and compared intraoperative and post-surgical factors for 16 RRHs and 32 ORHs, procedures performed between August 2004 and June 2007. Researchers found that although the surgeries took longer, patients who underwent RRH had less blood loss compared to those who had ORH procedures. Patients who had a RRH also had shorter hospital stays after the surgery compared to patients who had ORH. The complications both during and after surgery for both RRH and ORH were comparable.

“Although the time spent performing the operation in RRH cases was longer, this was reduced over time as surgeons and staff became more familiar with the procedure and the technology,” said Feltmate. “This robotic assisted approach deserves further exploration to evaluate the full potential and application of RRH.”

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 777-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery network. In July of 2008, the hospital opened the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, the most advanced center of its kind. BWH is committed to excellence in patient care with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery. The BWH medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives and its dedication to educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Biomedical Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, involving more than 860 physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by more than $416 M in funding. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative. For more information about BWH, please visit

Center of Excellence: Women's Health