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Physicians at the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery (TIRS), located at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, recently performed the first robotic abdominal cerclage procedure.

An abdominal cerclage procedure is performed to hold the cervix closed, which allows for a baby to fully develop in utero before leaving the womb. This type of procedure is done when other procedures to close the cervix have failed.

Traditionally, an abdominal cerclage procedure involves a laparotomy—a large incision through the abdominal wall, which is higher risk and requires a longer recovery period. However, with advancements in robotic technology, the procedure can also be done laparoscopically, which requires only minor incisions and results in a shorter recovery period.

The patient who underwent the first procedure in Central Texas had suffered two miscarriages due to an insufficient cervix.

After the patient underwent two unsuccessful vaginal cerclage procedures, she was advised by specialists at Austin Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center to consider an abdominal cerclage. Dr. Devin Garza was consulted on the feasibility of performing the procedure through a non-traditional, minimally invasive approach. Shortly after, Dr. Garza performed the procedure laparoscopically, using the da Vinci Surgical System at TIRS, and Dr. Kimberley DeStefano provided an intraoperative consult on the surgery.

This procedure took less than an hour to complete and required only a few small incisions. The patient was discharged the same day and was able to return to work within just a few days. The surgery was successful, and the patient is optimistic she will now be able to carry a baby to term.

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