Public Release:  Patient's weight not linked to success of fibroid surgery

Henry Ford Health System

Obese patients are no more likely to have post-operative complications than those of average weight when undergoing robotic surgery to remove uterine fibroids, according to a study at Henry Ford Hospital.

Myomectomy is a procedure that removes uterine fibroids, leaving the uterus intact and preserving the ability for future pregnancies.

"Performing laparoscopic myomectomy on an obese patient can present difficulties for the most experienced gynecologic surgeon," says David Eisenstein, M.D., division head, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and co-author of the study. "However, this challenge can now be overcome with the assistance of surgical robots that provide the surgeon with three-dimensional images, improved instrument dexterity and better precision."

The study was presented today at the 38th Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology in Orlando.

In the U.S., the percentage of adults who are obese, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30, doubled from 1980 to 2000. Since 1991, the number of obese adults has increased by 74 percent, with nearly 23 million being women.

BMI is a numerical value of a person's weight in relation to height. The numbers are good indicators of healthy weights for adult men and women, regardless of body frame size. BMIs of more than 30 are associated with significantly increased health risks in some people.

The study followed 77 patients who underwent robot-assisted laparoscopic myomectomy from January 2005 through November 2008 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Patients involved in the study had overall similar demographics. Thirty-two of the patients (more than 40 percent) had a BMI of more than 30. The study evaluated the impact of BMI on procedure time, estimated blood loss and length of post-operative hospital stay. Obesity was not shown to be a risk factor for poor surgical outcome in patients who had undergone the robotic myomectomy procedure.

Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic gynecologic surgery techniques allow surgeons to perform operations without the need for large incisions on the abdomen. By avoiding such incisions, these techniques improve the safety of surgery, lessen complications, and reduce postoperative pain and recovery time for a quicker return to daily life and health. Henry Ford's gynecologic surgeons conduct ongoing research investigations to advance the use of robotic surgery techniques.

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Reference: "Analysis of the Impact of Body Mass Index on the Surgical Outcomes After Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Myomectomy" AAGL 2009.

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