Is Robotic Surgery for Hernia Repair Right for You?

By Salvatore Docimo, DO, FACS
Co-Director of the Stony Brook Medicine Center for Abdominal Core Health and Complex Hernia Repair

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Hernia repairs are very common —more than one million hernia repairs are performed each year in the U.S.  Approximately 800,000 are to repair inguinal hernias and the rest are for other types of hernias.1

Robotic surgery is a new technique being utilized for hernia repair. Surgeons use the da Vinci® surgical system to perform complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with precision.   Similar to laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery uses small incisions, a laparoscope (small camera) and small instruments to complete the hernia repair. The surgeon is seated at a console in the operating room and we looking at a 3D picture while operating.  Robotic surgery can be used to fix inguinal (groin hernias), umbilical (belly-button) hernias, and also some larger ventral hernias as well.

Laparoscopic or Robot-Assisted Hernia Repair

Several tiny incisions are made on the abdomen.  A camera is inserted and small instruments are used to repair the hernia. Mesh is also placed if indicated.  Laparoscopic or robotic assisted hernia repair, when compared to open hernia repairs, can result in:

  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recoveries
  • Fewer complications
Is Robotic Surgery Right for you?
Dr. Salvatore Docimo

Robotic surgery is very similar to laparoscopic surgical repair of hernias with a few exceptions.  “The robotic instrumentation allows for greater articulation at the tips of the instruments which provides a greater degree of motion and accuracy,” says Dr. Salvatore Docimo, Co-Director of the Stony Brook Medicine Center for Abdominal Core Health and Complex Hernia Repair,  who performs robotic hernia repairs.

In some cases, use of the robotic platform allowed for a reduced length of stay. A 2018 study published in the Annals of Surgery demonstrated that robotically repaired ventral hernias allowed patients to go home sooner when compared to open surgical repair.

The is a learning curve associated with robotic hernia repairs.  The most important factor is finding a surgeon who is comfortable performing robotic hernia repairs and has done many of them. “The best repair a surgeon can offer their patient is the one they perform most frequently and the procedure that is they are most comfortable with,” says Dr. Docimo.  “We have been offering robotic hernia repairs for about 4 years here at Stony Brook Medicine. I would be happy to sit down and discuss any type of hernia repair with the patient. We offer open, laparoscopic, and robotic hernias repairs. This gives us the ability to tailor hernia repairs for each individual patient.”

1. Rutkow, I.M. (2003). Demographic and Socieconomic Aspects of Hernia Repair in the United States in 2003. Surgical Clinics of North America; 83(5):1045-51, v-vi.

Learn more about our hernia procedures. For consultations/appointments with our specialists, please call 631-638-0054.

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