Hysterectomy through the Abdomen

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
September 18, 2008 3:36:49 PM PDT
One-third of all women will get a hysterectomy before they turn 60. The traditional procedure often means six to eight weeks of recovery and a lot of pain medication. Now, using a camera and a few small incisions, doctors are helping women get back to their daily routines in half the time. Dr. Jay Adlersberg's On Call with more.

Just two days after her hysterectomy, Carol Minasian was back on track.

"I was amazed," she told Ivanhoe.

Doctors credit her quick rebound to a new procedure that removes the uterus with a few tiny cuts

"The traditional way involves making a large incision in the abdominal wall by removing the uterus through that incision," Jon I. Einarsson, M.D., an OB/GYN at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, explained. "The laparoscopic approach allows you to do the same thing through very small incisions."

During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, doctors make three to four, half-inch incisions, then place a trocar device -- used as a port -- through the abdominal wall. Smaller instruments are then placed through the trocar. A camera inserted through the belly button guides the doctors.

"You can see things much clearer sometimes laparoscopically than [with] normal surgery," Dr. Einarsson said.

If the uterus is too large to fit through the portholes or vagina, doctors use a device to cut it up and remove it in tiny pieces

"The benefits are quicker recovery for the patients, less pain, earlier return to daily activities," Dr. Einarsson explained.

For Minasian, the laparoscopic hysterectomy meant less medication and a shorter hospital stay.

"The surgery was on a Tuesday and by Thursday morning I was driving," she said.

The new procedure offers a turnaround that helps on-the-go women like Minasian fit surgery into their busy schedules.

Most women are candidates for the minimally-invasive procedure. For doctors, the laparoscopic procedure is different than traditional methods because the camera and light improves visibility. Experts recommend going to a doctor who specializes in this type of surgery.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

  • http://www.acog.org
  • http://www.brighamandwomens.org/mininvgynsurg
  • http://www.minimallyinvasiveoptions.com

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