UAE: Doctors use robot-assisted surgery to treat uterine cancer in severely obese woman

The minimal-invasive hysterectomy helped reduce surgical complications and the patient was discharged in 2 days

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Ashwani Kumar

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Robotic surgery conducted in Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC). Photos: Supplied
Robotic surgery conducted in Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC). Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 9:08 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 2:42 PM

A severely obese elderly woman with endometrial cancer is now disease-free following minimally invasive diagnostic and robotic surgical techniques at one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care.

Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, occurs in the layers of cells that form the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Globally, it is the sixth most commonly occurring cancer in women and the 15th most common cancer overall. When diagnosed early on, endometrial cancer is treatable.

In the case mentioned above, the patient was diagnosed with cancer after she reported postmenopausal bleeding. She was referred to Abu Dhabi Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) from another hospital for further management.

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Subsequently, specialists at SSMC conducted a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) to detect the presence and spread of cancer cells. This eliminated the need for the patient to undergo a lymphadenectomy, a procedure involving the surgical removal and examination of lymph nodes for cancer. This procedure often poses risks such as infections, nerve damage, and thromboembolic events.

Dr Mathebele Makwela, obstetrics and gynaecology consultant at SSMC, noted that the patient suffered from clinically severe obesity, which added to the risk associated with treating cancer.

“However, the sentinel lymph node biopsy helped us accurately assess the cancer’s spread without subjecting the patient to the potential complications associated with traditional lymphadenectomy.”

Dr Mathebele Makwela
Dr Mathebele Makwela

The patient then underwent a robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which involved the removal of the uterus, fallopian tube, and both ovaries to remove all cancerous cells and prevent the chance of recurrence.

“Our robot-assisted hysterectomy further ensured thorough removal of affected tissue. Our approach throughout this case was to minimise any risks to the patient by adopting minimally invasive and highly accurate procedures. She was discharged two days after surgery,” Dr Makwela explained about procedures that helped reduce surgical complications and improve recovery.

Post-surgery diagnosis showed that the patient’s lymph nodes were negative, confirming that none of the draining lymph nodes contained cancer. The patient only required localised vaginal brachytherapy or radiation to kill any cancer cells that may still linger.

After the treatment, the patient expressed her gratitude to the SSMC team. “I cannot express the sense of relief that I feel today. It was not an easy process, but I am grateful to the doctors and staff at SSMC who showed understanding and compassion, which made me confident I was in safe hands. I am filled with gratitude for this second chance at life."

Robotic surgery
Robotic surgery

The entire process was conducted under the guidance of the multidisciplinary tumour board at SSMC, involving the departments of gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology. Collaboratively, the specialists were able to identify the best route for treatment and eliminate the chances of recurrence.

Dr Muhieddine Seoud
Dr Muhieddine Seoud

Dr Muhieddine Seoud, chair of the obstetrics and gynaecology department at SSMC, added: “This approach to treatment represents the heart of our mission of delivering the highest quality of care for our patients. Providing patients with definitive answers to their health concerns requires expert-led analysis, state-of-the-art facilities, and the latest technological equipment, enabling early detection of diseases and cost avoidance for the patient. At SSMC, we are proud to be at the forefront of medical innovation and continue striving for the highest health care standards.”

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