Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

When medication and non-invasive procedures are unable to relieve symptoms, surgery remains the accepted and most effective treatment for a range of gynecologic conditions. These include, but are not limited to, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, uterine bleeding problems, ovarian cysts, pelvic prolapse and incontinence, cancer (cervical, uterine and ovarian) and even prophylactic surgery in women at high risk for certain gynecologic cancers.

For many years, the traditional approach to most gynecologic surgeries has been an open incision of 6-12 inches. Since this means using a large incision for access to gynecologic anatomy, there is often more pain and longer recovery with more trauma to surrounding tissue.

Faced with a longer recovery due to pain and discomfort as well as extended time away from normal daily activities that usually follows traditional major surgery, many women understandably fear and avoid the best surgical treatment for their medical condition.

Fortunately, less invasive options are available. Some gynecologic procedures enable surgeons to access the target anatomy using a vaginal approach, which may not require an external incision. Most gynecologic surgeries are able to be performed laparoscopically. Laparoscopy is major surgery performed through tiny, 1-2 cm abdominal incisions that allow the surgeon to use a lighted scope and small instruments to reach the target anatomy.

For some complex hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, robot-assisted surgery with the daVinci® Surgical System may be the most effective, least invasive treatment option. Robotic surgery is laparoscopic surgery with the added technology of the range of motion of the human wrist at the tip of the laparoscopic instrument and 3-dimensional vision.

Laparoscopic surgery offers greater precision and control, minimizing the pain and risk associated with large incisions while increasing the likelihood of a faster recovery with excellent clinical outcomes.
As with any surgery, these outcomes cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific. Minimally invasive surgery may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

Women First physicians specialize in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and in advanced, complex laparoscopic surgery. Several of our physicians also perform da Vinci robotic gynecologic surgery. Physicians from all over the United States travel to Louisville, Kentucky, to operate and to learn specialized laparoscopic surgery from our doctors.

Of the more than 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the U.S. (1 in 3 women by age 60), 70% are open surgeries.

At Women First, we perform, on average, more than 300 hysterectomies a year and only 5-6% of these surgeries are performed abdominally. Amazingly, greater than 90% of our hysterectomies are minimally invasive.

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