A Guide to Total Hysterectomy, the Benefits of Minimally-Invasive Laparoscopic Surgery
Minimally-invasive procedures offer many benefits to patients. These techniques minimize trauma to the treatment site during surgery. In turn, smaller incisions are associated with fewer risks and complications, such as bleeding, significant scars, infections, and exposure to contaminants. Additionally, fast and healthy healing is supported with less to recover from. Time in the hospital and overall costs are also reduced. At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates in Chicago, Illinois, we use laparoscopic technologies and techniques to perform surgeries (such as total hysterectomy) as a minimally-invasive alternative to conventional “open” surgery.
Hysterectomy represents one of the most common surgeries administered in the United States. A “partial” hysterectomy involves removing a portion of the uterus – but not the cervix. “Radical” hysterectomy removes both the uterus and cervix, some surrounding tissue, and part of the vagina. The most common type, a total hysterectomy, removes the uterus and cervix.
A total hysterectomy may be advised and appropriate to resolve or treat:
- Excessive menorrhagia or menstrual bleeding
- Benign fibroid growths
- Pre-cancerous tumors
- Uterine cancers
- Pelvic prolapse
If we determine that you are a good candidate for a total laparoscopic hysterectomy, the process generally involves using a small camera (laparoscope). The laparoscope is inserted through a minimal incision or cut. In doing so, our surgeon can “see” or view the inside of the abdomen clearly with a monitor. So, small instruments can then be precisely and dexterously maneuvered to perform the surgery. These instruments, too, are introduced through minimal, small incisions. After the uterus is separated, it is removed through the vagina. Then the vaginal cuff is closed.
We have considerable surgical skill and capabilities on-site to offer conventional laparoscopy and robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy with the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System. Dr Friedell is our robotic surgeon. This system provides significant magnification of the treatment site and dexterity, supporting precision and optimal outcomes.
Patients who undergo minimally-invasive total hysterectomy with our laparoscopic options generally experience minor discomfort, fewer infections, and a faster recovery than women who undergo more invasive abdominal hysterectomies that involve making one large incision in the lower abdomen to remove the uterus. We will discuss what to expect before, during, and after the procedure, including after-care. It is not uncommon to experience light bleeding, soreness, and cramping. While every patient heals at a different pace, you may return to many of your usual activities within around two weeks post-surgery.
A total hysterectomy can free patients of heavy periods, menstruation-related pain, and symptoms associated with endometriosis, fibroids, and other conditions. Our approach to conventional surgical techniques, laparoscopy, with or without robotic systems, resolves these conditions and improves patients’ quality of life in a comfortable, cost-effective, highly precise, and efficient way. Not all patients are candidates for laparoscopic hysterectomy. We would be happy to discuss your options.
We at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates welcome your questions about treating bleeding and other uterine conditions or concerns. Call 312-440-9400 to schedule an appointment at our Chicago office, conveniently located on North Lake Shore Drive.