Dr. David McNease George

In the past five years, Dr. David McNease George, of Novant Health Rankin OB/GYN - Randolph has performed and assisted with more than 200 robotic-assisted surgeries. Women see him for this type of surgery for a variety of reasons, from wanting to improve their chances of getting pregnant to having a hysterectomy.

“What I like best about robotic surgery is that patients are in less pain after surgery and have a shorter recovery time, compared to traditional abdominal surgery,” he said. “With advanced laparoscopic tools and 3D imaging, we can further improve our surgical techniques to help treat more complex problems and improve outcomes.”

It’s also a form of minimally invasive surgery, where surgeons make far-smaller incisions than traditional “open surgery.”

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Here are some answers to common questions that patients ask him about robotic-assisted surgery. Also, Charlotte area resident seeking care see box below.

Is an actual robot performing the surgery?

This is the No. 1 question patients ask me. But no, it’s nothing like a scenario where we tell the robot, “Go do a hysterectomy,” press a button and watch it go.

Robotic surgery is the most advanced form of laparoscopic surgery. The machine we use to perform the surgery is called the da Vinci Surgical System. The machine mimics your surgeon’s precise hand movements in real-time through its instruments. During the procedure, your surgeon sits at a console table, controlling the machine the entire time. Nothing is pre-programmed into the machine.

Who is eligible for robotic surgery?

A few examples: Women whose fibroids are causing them pain, who are suffering from endometriosis or who want a hysterectomy. It’s most commonly used for women in their 30s and 40s.

What are some of the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery?

Compared to abdominal surgery – where the incisions are about the size of a C-section – we typically just do three to four small incisions, each about the width of a fingernail. That’s where the phrase “minimally invasive” comes in. There’s less pain after surgery and a shorter recovery time. Most patients are usually able to go home after surgery the same day. Compare that to traditional abdominal surgery, which is a two- to three-night stay in the hospital.

Why is robotic surgery good for endometriosis?

Unfortunately, endometriosis is a challenging condition to treat. It is a common, painful disease that causes a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to: severe pelvic pain, abdominal discomfort, heavy menstrual periods, constipation and pain during intercourse.

However, studies have shown that this type of surgery can improve fertility and decrease negative symptoms associated with the disease.

Is robotic surgery for everyone?

Robotic-assisted surgery has its limitations. If the uterus is significantly enlarged, minimally invasive surgery may not be an option for you.

Let’s discuss fibroids: How do they affect my fertility?

If there are several fibroids, they can cause an increased risk of miscarriage, complications during pregnancy or difficulty in getting pregnant. We can remove the fibroids without affecting the uterus. Robotic surgery can still keep your fertility intact – and improve the odds of you getting pregnant or having a healthier pregnancy because the fibroids won’t get in the way.

Will I get to see what my fibroids look like?

Yes, you’ll get several pictures. First, we’ll take pictures of what the fibroids look like with an ultrasound or CT scan before surgery. An ultrasound is the most common way to diagnose fibroids. Then, we are able to take pictures using the robotic camera during surgery. We’ll take before and after pictures and share them with you (if you’re interested).

What do you do with my fibroid after you take it out?

We send it to the laboratory to make sure there is no concern for cancer. Tumors don’t typically grow on fibroids. This is very rare. And because we take pictures of the fibroid beforehand with a CT scan and ultrasound, we’ll know beforehand if anything looks suspicious.

Charlotte area residents: Novant Health Minimally Invasive GYN – SouthPark offers the most advanced, minimally invasive care for gynecologic concerns. To book an appointment, call 704-384-1407.