For thousands of women, gynecologic surgery can be an alarming prospect. The pain and potential complications of open surgery, the lost time spent in recovery, and the added risk keeps many women from receiving the treatment they need.
The gynecologists at Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates understand the anxiety many patients face about surgically treating gynecologic issues. In an effort to better serve patients, most of the practice’s physicians have undergone training to perform minimally invasive robotically assisted surgery.
Using the da Vinci Surgical System, one of the most sophisticated and advanced surgical devices of our day, physicians are able to treat a wide range of gynecologic issues, including cervical and uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic organ prolapse, and menorrhagia (excessive bleeding). The revolutionary da Vinci Surgical System features a high-definition 3D monitor and special wristed instruments that offer more mobility and sensitivity than the human hand.
Cervical, Ovarian & Uterine Cancer
There are many types of gynecologic cancer, but cervical, uterine/endometrial, and ovarian cancer are three of the more common kinds. Depending on the stage of cancer and other factors, such as the patient’s health condition, age, and reproductive desires, a hysterectomy may be advised. During a hysterectomy, the uterus is surgically removed. Depending on the factors that necessitate the hysterectomy, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and certain lymph nodes may be removed, as well.
Women facing early-stage gynecologic cancer may be eligible candidates for da Vinci hysterectomy. This technology has been proven to allow surgeons to remove cancerous tissue more precisely than is possible with open surgery techniques. Also, da Vinci hysterectomy can potentially offer similar or fewer complications, fewer conversions to open surgery, less blood loss, less need for narcotic pain medicine, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery than traditional laparoscopy.
Uterine fibroids, benign (non-cancerous) tumors in and around the uterus, are very common in women. In fact, as many as one in five women have fibroids during their reproductive years, and half of all women have fibroids by the time they reach age 50. While many women won’t notice any symptoms or require any treatment, some women experience severe pain and excessive menstrual bleeding because of their fibroids. Uterine fibroids may be removed surgically, a procedure known as a myomectomy. In some cases, the entire uterus is removed in a da Vinci hysterectomy procedure.
Approximately 65,000 myomectomies are performed each year in the U.S. alone. Many of these procedures are done as “open” procedures, which entail large incisions and long recovery times. With da Vinci myomectomy, your surgeon may be able to remove uterine fibroids more effectively than if he or she were using an open or laparoscopic approach. The da Vinci Surgical System allows for the removal of heavier, more numerous, and more difficult to access fibroids – with fewer complications. Compared to traditional open surgery, da Vinci myomectomy offers the following potential benefits:
- Less blood loss
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less need for narcotic pain medicine
- Small incisions for minimal scarring
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (tissue lining the uterus) begins to grow abnormally outside the uterus. In patients with endometriosis, tissue usually grows on other areas of the pelvic cavity, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel, and elsewhere. The result is cramping, menstrual pain, pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, and – in some patients – infertility. The cause of endometriosis is unknown, and there is no cure. Patients of Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates, however, have the opportunity to undergo da Vinci endometriosis resection or da Vinci hysterectomy.
During a da Vinci endometriosis resection, the surgeon has amazing visibility with great depth and clarity, which allows him or her to remove deep endometrial tissue implants. Compared to traditional laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery), da Vinci endometriosis resection offers the following potential benefits:
- Low blood loss
- Low conversion rate to open surgery
- Low rate of complications
- Short hospital stay
- Small incisions for minimal scarring
Organ prolapse occurs when an organ slips out of position. Uterine prolapse is a fairly common women’s health issue. In fact, 40 percent of participants in the Women’s Health Initiative trial in the United States were found to have some degree of uterine prolapse. Risk increases with age. Many women with pelvic prolapse experience little to no discomfort. However, a prolapsed uterus that puts pressure on the bladder or bowel pushes many women to seek medical attention.
da Vinci sacrocolpopexy (pelvic prolapse surgery) is one surgical method for treating uterine prolapse. During this procedure, a mesh is surgically inserted to hold the affected pelvic organs in their natural position. Sacrocolpopexy is sometimes performed in conjunction with hysterectomy, depending on the patient. In addition to less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, and smaller scars, da Vinci sacrocolpopexy can improve urinary, bowel, and pelvic symptoms and allow for better sexual function. This procedure has a low rate of complications.
Excessive Bleeding (Menorrhagia)
Heavier, longer-lasting periods (menorrhagia) may be caused by a number of factors. However, the two main causes of menorrhagia are hormonal imbalance and uterine growths. Hormonal imbalances may be caused by diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, stress, anorexia, intense exercise habits, or hormonal changes in your teen or pre-menopause years. Uterine growths, which may be malignant or benign, can be caused by any number of factors, including a few that have been covered on this page (fibroids and endometrial cancer, for example).
Depending on the cause of your excessive bleeding, your gynecologist may try using hormone therapy to treat the health problem. Other surgical options include endometrial ablation, endometrial resection, and hysterectomy. Many women have found relief from their discomfort and pain through da Vinci hysterectomy, which is performed through a few small incisions with some of the most precision-controlled surgical instruments in the world. Learn more about da Vinci Hysterectomy.
For more information about minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, including laparoscopic and da Vinci surgery, call Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates at 480-257-2700. Or, book an appointment online.