A hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus (partial hysterectomy) or both your uterus and your cervix (total hysterectomy). If you need a hysterectomy, you may be eligible for robotic (robot-assisted) surgery. During robotic surgery, your doctor performs the hysterectomy with instruments that are passed through small abdominal incisions. The magnified, 3-D view makes possible great precision, flexibility and control.

When you have a minimally invasive hysterectomy, you're likely to have less pain and lose less blood than is typical with open abdominal surgery. You'll probably be able to resume normal daily activities more quickly than you could after open surgery.

Read more about vaginal hysterectomy and abdominal hysterectomy.

About

Your Mayo Clinic doctor may recommend a hysterectomy to treat several conditions. Robotic hysterectomy can be an excellent choice if you aren't a candidate for a vaginal hysterectomy. Your doctor may recommend a robotic procedure if you have surgical scars or an anatomical irregularity that limits your options.

To prepare you for a robotic hysterectomy, your doctor will:

  • Make five small incisions in your abdomen
  • Insert slender surgical instruments through those incisions

Incisions for a robotic procedure are much smaller than those used for open surgery, so you'll have less tissue trauma and smaller scars than you'd have after a traditional abdominal hysterectomy.

During a robotic hysterectomy procedure:

  • Your surgeon will use control devices to direct the surgical instruments that remove your uterus
  • The robotic system translates your surgeon's hand movements into precise movements at the instrument's tip
  • Your surgeon may also remove one or both ovaries and your fallopian tubes, depending on your condition
  • An assistant at the operating table repositions instruments, adds or removes surgical devices, and provides other support to your surgeon as needed
  • Members of the anesthesia team continually monitor your condition and comfort

What to expect

Different people recover at different rates, but staying in the hospital only one night is typical. While you're in the hospital, treatment team members will monitor you to make sure you're comfortable. You may receive medications to limit pain and prevent infection. You can expect light vaginal bleeding after your robotic hysterectomy.

After a hysterectomy you'll no longer have menstrual periods. If your ovaries were also removed, you'll have immediate menopause. You and your doctor will talk about the pros and cons of hormonal therapy.

You may need as long as six weeks to recover. While you're recovering, your doctor may advise you to:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Limit your physical activity
  • Avoid heavy lifting

Ask your doctor when and how you can safely resume your physical activities as you heal. You can generally expect to return to work three to four weeks after your hysterectomy.

Regarding sexual activity, you'll need to avoid intercourse for nine weeks after a robotic hysterectomy. You won't be able to get pregnant after a hysterectomy. If your hysterectomy relieves chronic pain or heavy bleeding, you may experience an increase in sexual satisfaction.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic has highly skilled experts trained in using a robotic system for performing surgery to correct problems of women's reproductive (gynecologic) organs. Mayo Clinic doctors also perform several other kinds of robotic surgery.
  • Expertise. Gynecologists at Mayo Clinic perform cutting-edge research that leads to new treatments for women who have disorders of their reproductive organs.
  • Team approach. Mayo Clinic offers multispecialty teams of doctors who diagnose and treat women who may need a hysterectomy, including gynecologists, gynecologic surgeons and other specialists as needed.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks #1 for gynecology in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for gynecology, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for gynecology by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, doctors trained in women's diseases and disorders (gynecologic surgeons) oversee and perform robotic hysterectomies.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Florida, doctors trained in women's diseases and disorders (gynecologic surgeons) oversee and perform robotic hysterectomies.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, doctors trained in women's diseases and disorders (gynecologic surgeons) oversee and perform robotic hysterectomies.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers seek innovative treatments for many types of gynecologic conditions. Mayo Clinic doctors and researchers pioneered the use of the robotic system for gynecologic surgery, assisting developers of a robotic surgical system during the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Publications

See a list of publications on hysterectomy by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Dec. 20, 2012