Jackie Chambers, of Syracuse, has been a patient of Luthringer's for more than 10 years. In March 2009, she had a total hysterectomy when the da Vinci system was still fairly new to this area.
"I was really glad I was able to use the method," she said. "The recovery ... I couldn't even say I had pain. I was back to doing things in a really short amount of time. Having had other [open abdominal] surgeries compared to this, it was like night and day."
Patients who undergo robotic-assisted surgeries go home usually within 24 hours and require less recovery time - about a week. In contrast, patients who undergo open abdominal surgeries need six to eight weeks for recuperation. Additionally, robotic patients experience less blood loss and lower rate of complications.
"Almost 40 percent of my patients, after a hysterectomy, will go home the same day," Luthringer said. "The other ones will go home the following morning, which is a 23-hour stay. I've had no transfusions in any of those 300 to 400 patients [and] a lot of patients don't require narcotics."
National statistics figure one out of three women in the United States will have a hysterectomy before she turns 60. About 600,000 hysterectomies are done annually - it's the second most common gynecologic surgery after cesareans. Dr. Luthringer recommends potential patients visit his newly launched website, hysterectomycenter.com, which allows women the chance to educate themselves on gynecological problems and the latest medical advancements.
"Patients should be an advocate for themselves," he said, listing questions they should ask a doctor before committing to a particular treatment. "What are the different types of procedures? What would be the best procedure for them? How many procedures has the surgeon performed? What is their outcomes and what is their complication rate?"