There was a time when women facing a hysterectomy were offered a vaginal or an abdominal procedure. The abdominal procedure is performed through a large incision, leaving patients with a long recovery time, significantly more pain after surgery, and higher complication rates.
“While it is important to note that the vaginal hysterectomy remains the preferred procedure for patients who are good candidates, new innovations in minimally invasive techniques have decreased the number of women who would otherwise face abdominal hysterectomies,” says Richard Duff, MD, Chief of Crittenton’s OB/GYN Department. “Minimally invasive surgery involves small incisions in the abdominal wall. Instead of one large incision to gain access, surgery can now be conducted through these small incisions,” states Dr. Duff.
How It’s Done
Many minimally invasive procedures are performed with a laparoscope—a fiber-optic scope fitted with a small camera—placed inside the abdomen through a tiny cut. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to see inside the body on a computer screen.
“Sometimes the surgeon uses a robot for even more precise control during the procedure,” says Dr. Duff. The surgeon sits at a special computer console and guides robotic arms that execute the procedure with tiny surgical tools. With both laparoscopic and robotic surgery, tissue may be removed through the vagina or through the small abdominal incisions without making a large incision. While major incisions can’t always be avoided, many patients are benefiting from these new techniques.
Types of Minimally Invasive Procedures
There are many different types of minimally invasive gynecological procedures that can treat a range of conditions, from cysts to heavy menstrual bleeding. Examples include:
- Hysterectomy, either total or partial
- Treatments for urinary incontinence (leaking urine)
- Uterine fibroid removal (myomectomy)
- Endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain treatments
- Tubal ligation (permanent birth control)
- Treatments for ectopic pregnancies
Small Incisions, Big Benefits
“Patients should thoroughly discuss the operative approach with their surgeons, with the realization of the many benefits of minimally invasive surgery,” advises Dr. Duff. These benefits include:
Faster healing time, with less time spent in the hospital
- Fewer stitches
- Less visible scars
- Reduced pain
- Faster return to your daily life
- Reduced risk of bleeding and other complications
“Traditional surgeries can require recovery periods of as long as six to eight weeks,” says Dr. Duff. “But with minimally invasive surgeries, many women are back to normal within about two weeks.”
To find a Crittenton doctor who can help answer your questions on these procedures and more, call (248) 652 – 5418 or visit “Find a Doctor”.