Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. There are about 600,000 hysterectomies done each year, meaning that about one-third of women in America will have a hysterectomy by the time they are 60 years old.
Why so many?
There are several reasons you may need a hysterectomy. The most common reason is fibroids. Others include:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Chronic pain
There are numerous conditions for which a hysterectomy may be the best treatment, and there are also several different types of hysterectomy: a partial hysterectomy, in which all or part of your uterus is removed; a total hysterectomy, when your uterus and cervix are removed; or, more rarely, a radical hysterectomy, where your uterus, cervix, and the upper part of your vagina are removed.
Traditionally, hysterectomy required a large abdominal incision, called a laparotomy. A majority of hysterectomies are still performed via laparotomy. However, alternative methods available today cause less blood loss and less pain and allow for a faster recovery time.
The physicians at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group use two alternatives to laparotomy whenever possible: laparoscopic and robotic-assisted hysterectomy. Either of these procedures may be performed through a small incision in your abdomen or through your vagina, depending on your specific condition and needs.
Although the words “laparotomy” and “laparoscopic” look quite similar, the two techniques are quite different. A laparoscopic procedure is performed through a small incision using an instrument called a laparoscope, which is a very small tube with a camera attached. Many types of surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically because it reduces the risk of complications.
Da Vinci® hysterectomy
The da Vinci® Surgical System is designed to allow physicians to perform surgeries using tiny, robotic instruments with a console and video screen. The system allows for a remarkable degree of precision-guided and controlled by your surgeon, as well as a better view of what they are doing thanks to the magnification and video screen.
Benefits of minimally invasive procedures
There are many benefits to having a minimally invasive hysterectomy as opposed to one done through laparotomy. The risk of complications is lower overall.
The much smaller incision means there’s less damage your muscles and other tissues, which is one reason you’re likely to heal faster. It also lowers your risk of infection, partly because there’s a smaller area for bacteria to enter your body and partly due to faster healing.
A smaller incision means less blood loss during the procedure, as well. Again, losing less blood promotes faster healing.
Finally, both laparoscopic surgery and robotic-assisted surgery allow for a greater degree of precision and a better view on the part of your surgeon. Hysterectomies performed with the da Vinci surgical system allow for a particularly advanced level of control.
At Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, we work hard to make sure our patients have the most successful possible outcomes, and as part of that commitment, we use laparoscopic and robotic-assisted techniques to perform hysterectomies whenever it’s appropriate. Research has shown that these methods lead to improved outcomes compared to more traditional surgeries done through abdominal incisions.
If you’re facing the prospect of a hysterectomy and you have questions, book an appointment online or by phone at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group. We have three convenient locations in New York City, and our staff is happy to discuss your specific situation and answer any questions you have about laparoscopic or robotic-assisted procedures.