Mackay’s first robotic hysterectomy at Mater


Mater Private Hospital Mackay obstetrician and gynaecologist Ritu Rana has conducted the first robotic-assisted hysterectomy in Mackay, using the state-of-the-art da Vinci X robotic system.

Dr Rana is the only obstetrician and gynaecologist in Mackay credentialled to use the da Vinci X, meaning local women need no longer travel to Townsville or further afield to access the system.

She said the advantages of using the robot for surgery would make a real difference to the lives of Central Queensland women.

“It operates within the abdominal cavity via a small incision and has the ability to pivot 360 degrees,” Dr Rana said.

“So, you don’t get the large incisions and extensive recovery times associated with traditional surgery.

“The robot is also better for patients than a routine laparoscopy, where you move surgical instruments with a handle outside the abdomen, causing the stomach muscles to spread, increasing post-operative pain.

“The da Vinci X provides more precision, less post-operative pain, faster recovery and less blood loss. It was really the only choice for a case this difficult.”

“For surgeons, robotic surgery gives greater satisfaction as far as patient outcomes are concerned, which is our primary goal with any operation.”

Local woman Jodie Gilbert was the first person in Mackay operated on using the da Vinci X for gynaecological surgery.

“Jodie has a history of fibroids and endometriosis, so she was dealing with a lot of pain and excessive bleeding for most of her adult life,” Dr Rana said.

“Also, her left ovary had attached to the bowel, adding to the case’s complexity.

“Working with the robot, and the excellent surgical team at Mater Private Hospital Mackay, delivered a great result for Jodie.

“The incredible surgical precision of the technology combined with its high level of visual detail allowed us to navigate the bowel issue while leaving her right ovary intact, avoiding early menopause.”

Ms Gilbert said beyond the normal problems associated with fibroids and endometriosis, she also suffered with chronic back pain for years, not knowing it was due to her ovary and bowel fusing.

“I put up with the pain thinking it was one thing, not knowing it was something more complicated and dangerous,” she said.

“A hysterectomy is a big decision, but it’s one I should have made earlier. I put it off due to recovery time and the impact it would have on me returning to work and looking after my sister, who was ill at that time.

“With Dr Rana using the robot, I came out of surgery, the back pain was gone, and I left hospital the next day.

“When people understand robot-assisted surgery gives you a better recovery time and lower costs thanks to a shorter hospital stay, it’ll be very popular.”

Dr Rana said the Mackay community was incredibly fortunate to have the da Vinci X technology.

“I didn’t think it would happen here, but thanks to Mater Private Hospital Mackay Perioperative Services Manager Hazel Douglas really pushing for it, and ultimately the generous donations of the community through fundraising by the Mater Foundation, we now have this fantastic system right here in Mackay,” she said.

Pictured: Dr Ritu Rana.

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