Common Gynecological Surgeries
Throughout life, women experience many changes such as menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and other health care needs. There's a variety of women's health issues that may occur, some are treatable with medication and others may require surgery like a Hysterectomy. Speaking to a medical professional can help you diagnose and treat any irregularities with your body and its normal functioning. Your doctor may recommend surgery if you have been diagnosed with any of the following:
- Fibroid tumors
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic prolapse
Gynecologic surgery is often performed using either traditional open surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Every gynecological case is different and therefore requires its own specific treatment. What aided another woman might not work for you, which is why it is important to speak with Dr. Richey about your individual health care needs.
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Hysterectomy in Columbus OH
During an abdominal hysterectomy (open surgery), your uterus is removed through a large open incision. The incision must be large enough for your surgeon to see your organs and fit his/her hands and instruments inside your body.
An open surgery incision can be horizontal or vertical. Many women are familiar with the horizontal incision (also called a “bikini” incision) since it is commonly used for a C-section.
Laparoscopy in Columbus OH
Minimally Invasive Surgery – With traditional laparoscopy, your surgeon operates through a few small incisions using long instruments and a tiny camera to guide doctors during surgery. Your uterus may also be removed through a single incision in the belly button.
The da Vinci® Surgery
What Is The Da Vinci® System?
The da Vinci® Surgical System provides surgeons with a minimally invasive alternative to laparoscopic surgery. With a 3D HD® view inside your body, this allows for an optimal view of the condition being treated. The special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. This system only requires a few small incisions and gives patients a faster recovery.
Benefits of da Vinci® System
The da Vinci® enables your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control. Your doctor controls the da Vinci® System, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. This technology allows for virtually scarless results. Benefits from using the da Vinci system:
- Less risk of infection or complications
- Return sooner to normal activities
- A shorter hospital stay
- Minimal scarring due to smaller incisions
What’s the difference between robotic surgery and a traditional hysterectomy?
When it’s necessary to perform a hysterectomy, it can be done through open surgery, which requires a large incision in your abdomen. The surgeon the looks directly at the surgical area through the large incision and removes the uterus using hand-held tools.
Advancements in technology have made minimally invasive options the preferred approach. There are three types of minimally invasive methods: vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy, or robotic-assisted surgery (at Columbus Women’s Care, we use the da Vinci® robotic surgical system).
In a robotic hysterectomy with the da Vinci® system, we can remove the uterus through either a few small incisions or through one small incision in the belly button. During robotic hysterectomy with da Vinci®, Dr. Richey sits at a console next to the patient and operates using tiny instruments. Every hand movement she makes is translated by the da Vinci® system in real time to bend and rotate those instruments with ultimate precision. Throughout the procedure, the da Vinci® camera provides high-definition, 3D magnified views inside the body. This is a far cry from the obstructed views that often hinder laparoscopic procedures.
What are the benefits to having a benign hysterectomy using da Vinci?
A review of published studies suggests that potential benefits of using da Vinci® robotic technology for these surgeries include:
- Patients may experience fewer complications compared to patients who had open and laparoscopic surgery.
- Patients may stay in the hospital for a shorter amount of time than patients who had open, laparoscopic, and vaginal surgery.
- Surgeons may be less likely to switch to an open procedure when performing surgery with da Vinci®, compared to when performing laparoscopic surgery.
- With da Vinci®, you may have a single or few small incisions compared to an open procedure with one very long incision.
- After recovery, with da Vinci® you’ll only have one scar around your belly button or a few small scars.
Who is a good candidate for da Vinci hysterectomy surgery?
These are the reasons why the team at Columbus Women’s Health could recommend a hysterectomy:
- Non-cancerous fibroid tumors
- Cancerous tumors
- Uterine prolapse (your uterus has slipped down into your vagina)
- Endometriosis (cells from the lining of your uterus are growing outside your uterus, causing pain and bleeding)
- Other causes of long-term abnormal uterine bleeding
- Chronic pelvic pain
These are additional reasons why we would recommend robotic surgery with da Vinci®:
- You will have smaller incisions than in open hysterectomy surgery
- You will have less pain and a shorter stay in the hospital after surgery
- Recovery will be easier
- There is a lower risk of complications such as bleeding or infection
- You will be able to get back to your normal activities sooner
Are there any additional risks with da Vinci robotic surgery?
Robotic da Vinci® hysterectomies are safe procedures, but they are surgery, so they entail the risks inherent in any surgery: reaction to anesthesia, infection, excessive bleeding, damage to other organs inside the abdomen, blood clot formation.
The only real additional risk by using da Vinci’s precision for these procedures is that the surgery may take longer than some other methods. The risk here is that the patient is under anesthesia longer, which is a very minimal risk.
How do I prepare for a robotic hysterectomy?
Preparation for robotic or traditional hysterectomy procedures are the same. You’ll need to stop taking any blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, and most herbal supplements for a few days prior to your surgery. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for at least two weeks prior to and after your surgery, as smoking constricts blood vessels, and this can impede your healing.
You’ll want to prepare your recovery nest. You’ll probably only spend one night in the hospital after a da Vinci® surgery, but you’ll still need to lay low at home for a while. So, make your nest cozy with lots of pillows and blankets. Have all the entertainment you need right at your fingertips. Fill any necessary prescriptions prior to your surgery. Make preparations for someone to be around to cook and handle other stuff around the house.
What will my recovery be like after a robotic hysterectomy?
When Dr. Richey can use da Vinci® for hysterectomy surgery, patients usually only need to spend a single night in the hospital, compared with two or three nights with other methods.
Recovery overall is much easier, especially compared with open surgery. Still, you will want to take it slow initially. Increase your activity as you feel capable and don’t have pain. Vaginal bleeding is common in the weeks following your surgery. It will be 3-4 weeks before you can get back to your normal activities. Full recovery can take up to 6 weeks.
What results can I expect from a robotic hysterectomy?
After your recovery you won’t have any more heavy bleeding or pelvic pain. Pain during intercourse should be gone. You will no longer have any periods or be able to become pregnant.
If you had your ovaries removed but hadn’t reached menopause, you’ll begin menopause immediately after surgery. You might have symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats. We’ll probably recommend hormone therapy.
If your ovaries were not removed during your surgery, and you had not yet reached menopause, your ovaries will continue producing hormones and eggs until you reach natural menopause.
What do I need to avoid after hysterectomy surgery?
Avoiding lifting is paramount. Even if you feel recovered you must not lift anything over 20 pounds or have vaginal intercourse until 6 weeks after your hysterectomy.