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Published on December 05, 2017

Robotic surgery for gynecologic cancers means less pain, shorter recovery

Gundersen Health System's robotic da Vinci® Surgical System is helping gynecologic cancer patients recover faster and with fewer risks of complications.

Lori Weinberg, MD, Gundersen Gynecologic Oncology

Lori Weinberg, MD, Gundersen Gynecologic Oncology

The system enables providers to perform complex and delicate procedures through small incisions with unmatched precision, meaning patients experience less scarring, less pain and shorter recovery times, among other benefits.

Different methods of the minimally invasive surgery also can help surgeons more precisely pinpoint the most important lymph nodes to check for cancer, allowing them to remove fewer than with open surgery.

"The most important reason for the surgery is to remove the cancer, but it also is necessary to look at surrounding areas and make sure the cancer hasn't spread," says Lori Weinberg, MD, Gundersen gynecologic oncologist and obstetrician/gynecologist.

Dr. Weinberg specializes in diagnosing and treating all types and stages of gynecologic cancers, including cervical, endometrial/uterine, ovarian, vaginal and vulvar cancers, as well as premalignant conditions that lead to gynecologic cancer.

She works closely with Dana Benden, MD, and her other partners in Gynecology, as well as radiation oncologist Patrick Conway, MD, and the multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists, to develop treatment plans for patients, perform in-office procedures and minimally invasive surgeries, evaluate progress and offer medical guidance.

"I get involved in the care of women with reproductive cancers from day one. I stay involved through the whole process involving surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation and palliative treatments. I also help coordinate the care of patients who are being treated with chemotherapy closer to home," Dr. Weinberg says.

To refer a patient or learn more about gynecologic cancer treatment at Gundersen, contact MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or in La Crosse at 775-5465.

Symptoms to watch for

Gynecologic cancers have varying symptoms. Some of the most common include:

  • Cervical: Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.
  • Ovarian: Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge; feeling full quickly or having difficulty eating; pain or pressure in the pelvis; a more frequent need to urinate and/or constipation; feeling bloated; pain in the abdomen or back.
  • Uterine: Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge; pain or pressure in the pelvis.
  • Vaginal: Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge; a more frequent need to urinate and/or constipation.
  • Vulvar: Itching, burning or tender vulva; changes in vulva color or skin such as a rash, sore.

If you suspect a gynecologic cancer in your patient, Dr. Weinberg can assist with working up possible cancers or precancerous disorders. For a referral, contact MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or in La Crosse at 775-5465.

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