da Vinci Robotic Surgery for Gynecologic Cancers


This 3D medical animation shows how three different types of hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) surgeries are performed, using robotic procedures. These surgeries include partial, total, and radical hysterectomy.

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery (commonly called da Vinci robotic surgery) is laparoscopic surgery performed with the aid of a robot, which provides the surgeon the ability to perform more precise movements of the instruments. As in traditional laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in the abdominal area. With robotic surgery, the robotic arms, which hold the instruments, are inserted into these incisions and the surgeon controls the arm movements remotely from a console.

Intricate cancer surgery is now performed with the use of the da Vinci robot. Dr. Dwight Im is one of the nation’s leading da Vinci robot surgeons for genital tract cancers. In fact, he has developed a protocol called “Im’s Way” and now teaches other surgeons from across the U.S. and around the world this specialized technique. Using only 3 incisions about the size of a jelly bean, Dr. Im has worked to perfect maneuvering the robot’s arm to remove the cancer cells quickly, efficiently and in a way that significantly improves and eases the patient’s recovery. 

The advantage the da Vinci robot offers is a complete 360-degree rotation of the equipment, allowing for extreme precision and latitude throughout the surgery. The da Vinci robot provides many of the benefits conventional minimally invasive surgery offers, such as streamlined procedures in the Operating Room, improved post-surgical recovery and reduced time to heal following surgery.

What types of gynecologic cancer can be treated with Robotic Surgery?

Treatment for gynecologic cancer depends on the tumor size, invasiveness and location. Some gynecologic cancers may be treated with robotic surgery. These include early stage cervical cancer, early stage ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Surgical treatment for gynecologic cancers may be complemented with radiation therapy or chemotherapy when appropriate.

NEXT: What types of gynecologic oncology procedures can be performed with Robotic Surgery? ›
What types of gynecologic oncology procedures can be performed with Robotic Surgery?

Gynecologic oncologists at Mercy are skilled at using the da Vinci robot to perform surgery to treat gynecologic conditions and cancers including endometrial, early stage ovarian and early stage cervical cancers. Robotic surgery can also be used to stage some cancers and determine the extent of the disease. Although not all women are candidates for robotic surgery, the da Vinci robot can be used to perform the following procedures:

  • Hysterectomy - simple (removal of uterus and cervix) and radical (removal of uterus and cervix plus removal of upper vagina)
  • Oophorectomy - removal of one or both ovaries
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy - removal of one or both ovaries and one or both fallopian tubes
  • Ovarian Cystectomy - removal of ovarian cysts
  • Myomectomy - robotic surgery for uterine fibroids
  • Sacropolpopexy - surgery to correct pelvic organ prolapse (when a woman's pelvic organs slip downward and out of normal position)
  • Lymph Node Dissection - surgery to remove and examine the lymph nodes in the pelvis to either prevent the spread of cancer or to understand the extent of the disease
NEXT: When is Robotic Surgery the best treatment option? ›
When is Robotic Surgery the best treatment option?

Robotic surgery provides many benefits including, typically, a shorter hospital stay, less scarring and a faster return to daily activities, however, not all women are good candidates for robotic surgery. 

Robotic surgery as the best treatment option is determined by reviewing a woman's overall health as well as her particular condition and the extent of the disease. 

Some factors that may preclude women from robotic surgery include severe obesity, dense scar tissue due to prior abdominal surgery and large tumors. To determine whether or not you may be a candidate for robotic surgery, consult one of our gynecologic oncologists.

NEXT: Patient Stories ›
Patient Stories
Patient receives treatment for cancer at Mercy


Hear from a patient who opted for robotic GYN surgery after learning she had cervical cancer. She went on to return to work only two weeks after surgery.