The world’s first pregnancy following robot-assisted surgery for a uterus transplant has taken place in Gothernburg, Sweden.
The first pregnancy following robot-assisted uterus transplant
The woman who is now pregnant underwent the surgery in 2017, with an estimated spring delivery date. The baby will be the first born after a uterus transplant with robot-assisted surgery. So far, there have been eight births after uterus transplants in Sweden, which also took took place within the scope of research at Sahlgrenska Academy, but these happened after traditional open surgery.
Mats Brännström, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and world-leading researcher in the field, commented: “I think robotic surgery has a great future in this area.”
What is the robot-assisted surgery like?
It is primarily the donor of the uterus transplant who is affected by the change in technique. The operation is done with robot-assisted keyhole surgery in which five onecentimetre-long openings enable the surgeons to work with high precision.
The operating environment is completely different, because of the two of the surgeons sit with their heads close to covered monitors where they use tools like joysticks to control the robot arms and surgical instruments that release the uterus.
One hand movement from the surgeon can be converted to a millimetre-sized movement in the donor’s abdomen. This allows a high level of accuracy to minimise disturbance to both the patient and her uterus. The multi-hour operation ends the removal of the uterus through an incision in the abdomen. It is immediately inserted into the recipient by means of traditional open surgery.
Brännström added: “We haven’t saved as much time as we thought we would, but we gained in other ways. The donor loses less blood, the hospital stay is shorter, and the patient feels better after surgery.”