According to the American College of Surgeons, hernia repair is one of the most common surgical operations performed in U.S. hospitals. Now, following four years of tracking outcomes, NYU Winthrop Hospital announced that its use of minimally invasive robotics for repairing complex hernias has produced superior patient outcomes. The new robotic approach was introduced at NYU Winthrop by David K. Halpern, MD, chief of the Division of General Surgery. Dr. Halpern has performed more than 100 of these operations, using the da Vinci® Surgical System.
“This is a major advancement in the field of abdominal wall reconstruction, resulting in expedited patient recoveries,” said Dr. Halpern. “Previously, large, complex hernias would require a 10- to 12-inch incision, but with robotics, the incisions are quite small. This means patients have shorter hospital stays, less risk of a wound infection, and markedly less pain.”
A report summarizing the improvements in patient outcomes was peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. Key improvements to complex hernia repair using robotics included the following:
- Robotic repair reduces the average hospital stay from 6 days down to 1.8 days.
- Robotic repair also reduces the wound infection rate since, rather a big incision, the minimally invasive robotics only makes four to six small puncture wounds.
- Unlike open surgery, where the need for a large incision means that patients must go home with drains in them for about a month (to decrease fluid build-up and help healing), the need for drains are eliminated.
- Patients who have robotic repair have less postoperative pain.
- There is an average cost savings of $6,000 per surgery compared to open repair.
- NYU Winthrop has seen no hernia recurrences to date.
Dr. Halpern also noted that the robotic procedure is particularly beneficial to patients who pose a BMI-dependent surgical risk and are unable to undergo a weight-loss procedure before hernia repair, and very beneficial to patients with an increased risk of postoperative wound complications, such as those with a history of smoking or diabetes.
NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Hernia Center has a multidisciplinary team that collaborates on complex hernia cases to further improve outcomes.