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  • Dr. John Lenihan among first in U.S. with new robotic GYN surgery

    A newly FDA-cleared way to perform robotic surgery through the bellybutton means minimal pain and virtually scarless results for women who need a hysterectomy or other complex gynecological procedures.

    On Wednesday morning, John Lenihan, MD, and a surgical team at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., were among the first in the United States to perform a robotic-assisted single-site gynecological procedure through an inch-long incision in the patient’s bellybutton.

    Dr. Lenihan is the only surgeon in the South Sound who is qualified to perform this new procedure, and MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital is the only hospital in the area that offers this advanced surgery option.

    “This is an advancement that allows us to do procedures through a single incision rather than three to five small incisions or through one large open incision” said Dr. Lenihan, Medical Director of the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery program at MultiCare. “Cosmetically it’s better, and there’s less potential for problems.”

    In March, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the single-site robotic instruments for use in gynecology. Dr. Lenihan is one of a small group of surgeons in the country who has received training to perform the single-site surgery with the da Vinci system.

    Potential benefits of single-site robotic surgery may include virtually scarless results, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction. The surgery can be performed in about an hour with a typical hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

    “Basically, we can do almost anything with the robot that a woman might need for reproductive surgery, from cancer to tumors to support problems to bleeding to infertility,” Dr. Lenihan said.

    Back in 2005, Dr. Lenihan became the first gynecological surgeon in the Pacific Northwest to use robotic-assisted surgical techniques for gynecological surgeries. Last month, MultiCare Health System surgeons reached a South Sound medical milestone when they performed their 3,500th robotic-assisted surgery.

    MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital was one of the first hospitals in the country to be recognized by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists – the most prestigious international society for the advancement of gynecological minimally Invasive Surgery – as a Commitment-Level Center of Excellence for GYN Minimally Invasive Surgery.

    MultiCare is one of three Epicenter Teaching Centers for robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system on the West Coast.

    To learn more about robotic-assisted surgery, call 1-888-871-7088 or visit

    Posted on May 13, 2013 in Women's Health