In a first, a Swedish woman has become the first to get pregnant after having a womb transplant performed by a robot.
The women who underwent uterine transplantation with robot-assisted surgery in 2017 is expecting a child in spring this year, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden said in a statement.
Robotic surgery has made operating on the donors considerably less invasive. The operation is done with robot-assisted keyhole surgery in which five openings one centimetre long enable the surgeons to work with very high precision.
“I think robotic surgery has a great future in this area,” said Mats Brannstrom, Professor at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy.
“We haven’t saved as much time as we thought we would, but we gained in other ways. The donor loses less blood, the hospital stay is shorter, and the patient feels better after surgery,” Brannstrom said.
Uterus transplants involve surgically removing the womb of one woman and implanting it into one who cannot have a baby naturally.
However, in robotic surgery, the operating environment is completely different. Two of the surgeons sit with their heads close to their respective covered monitors where, using joystick-like tools, they control the robot arms and surgical instruments that release the uterus.
A hand movement from the surgeon can be converted to a millimetre-sized movement in the donor’s abdomen, allowing accuracy that minimizes disturbance to both the patient and her uterus.
The multi-hour operation ends removal of the uterus through an incision in the abdomen and its immediate insertion into the recipient by means of traditional open surgery.
Worldwide to date, a total of 13 babies have been born after uterine transplantation.
In 2017, a healthy baby girl was born following the uterus transplant from a 45-year-old brain dead woman.
The earlier 10 similar transplants from dead donors attempted in the US, Czech Republic and Turkey failed or resulted in a miscarriage.