Not Your Mother's Hysterectomy

Just about 30 years ago, in 1988 to be exact, a surgeon by the name of Henry Reich performed the first laparoscopic hysterectomy in Pennsylvania. While this accomplishment was lauded by the medical world, this revolutionary technique was still slow to get off the ground, largely thanks to training issues.

In the past decade, however, this changed dramatically as more and more of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year were done using laparoscopic techniques, as surgeons gained the technical knowledge and equipment.

Here at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, Dr. Shaurin Patel counts himself among the forward-thinking gynecological surgeons who offer laparoscopic hysterectomies, allowing women in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a better surgical choice for uterus removal.

To better understand how far removed we are from your mother’s time of routine, open hysterectomies, here’s a look at how laparoscopy has changed the way women undergo a hysterectomy.

Your mother’s hysterectomy

While your mother may not have, in fact, undergone a hysterectomy, our point here is that it wasn’t all that long ago that a hysterectomy was a fairly invasive surgery. In order to remove a uterus, and any other related organs or tissue, such as the ovaries, the surgeon made an incision 6-12 inches long across a woman’s abdomen to gain access to the area.

This incision sliced through the abdominal muscles, creating a swath of tissue destruction that took considerable time to heal. The discomfort of having the abdominal muscles cut was long-lasting, seriously impairing a woman’s ability to move around postoperatively.

As well, this large incision led to more blood loss and an increased risk of infection.

Downsizing

One of the biggest breakthroughs in modern surgery is the use of laparoscopic tools to perform surgeries. This technology relies on a tiny camera that delivers a real-time picture of the operating field to Dr. Patel via a video monitor. With the ability to fully visualize the surgical site beneath your tissue, he then guides small instruments into the area to do the work.

The bottom line is that these tools are so small that Dr. Patel only needs to make a few tiny incisions on your lower abdomen in order to perform your hysterectomy.

To say that this minimally invasive technique is a game changer would be no exaggeration. Thanks to this innovation, you incur less blood loss, less scarring, and a greatly reduced risk of infection. Your recovery time is sped up considerably since there’s a much smaller area that needs to heal -- only two weeks of downtime as opposed to six weeks for an open hysterectomy.

Dr. Patel uses this technique for most hysterectomies, including partial hysterectomies and total hysterectomies. If you also need to have your ovaries removed, Dr. Patel endeavors to perform this laparoscopically as well.

If you’re dealing with cancer, and you’re undergoing a radical hysterectomy, you may still need an open surgery so your surgeon can make sure to remove whatever is needed.

Vaginal hysterectomy

Taking the minimally invasive hysterectomy one step further, in some cases Dr. Patel can avoid surface incisions altogether by going in through your vagina to remove your uterus. This procedure is called a laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy. The technique still requires that Dr. Patel make small incisions, but these are located out of sight, inside your vagina.

This option is the best of all worlds, but it’s not for all women. Generally, a vaginal hysterectomy is reserved for women with a small uterus or fairly small fibroids. If you’ve had a Cesarean section, this also precludes you from the procedure.

While removing organs is usually a last resort, if your uterus has become more of a liability than an asset, we can minimize the impact considerably. With minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy, Dr. Patel can correct your problem without the heightened risk and discomfort of traditional open surgery.

If you still have questions about laparoscopic hysterectomies, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can use the online booking tool on this website to schedule an appointment.

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