Innovative Technology for Hysterectomies Provides Women a Quicker Return to NormalPublished: Aug. 27, 2021
When other therapies have failed, a hysterectomy is often the best solution for women suffering any number of gynecologic conditions.
A hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – stops menstruation and prohibits women from getting pregnant. But it can also provide relief for women experiencing a variety of unpleasant side effects.
There are many reasons you might need a hysterectomy, but one of the most common is abnormal bleeding. This can be bleeding that’s heavy, spotty, consistent or unpredictable – and it wreak havoc on your quality of life.
Other reasons your doctor might recommend a hysterectomy include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine prolapse
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix or ovaries
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Chronic pelvic pain
Types of Hysterectomies
There are two types of hysterectomies:
- A total hysterectomy removes the uterus and cervix.
- A radical hysterectomy – which is usually only done when cancer is present – removes the uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix and the top part of the vagina.
The ovaries and/or fallopian tubes may be removed with the uterus, depending on the patient’s age and other clinical factors.
There are several ways to perform a hysterectomy. Minimally invasive methods are usually attempted whenever possible because they tend to:
- Decrease the risk of complications
- Reduce recovery time
- Shorten the length of a patient’s hospital stay
One of the most technologically advanced methods available is robotic-assisted laparoscopy, using the da Vinci® Surgical System. This minimally invasive computer-assisted technology provides surgeons with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. With just a few small incisions, patients can expect less pain and a quicker recovery.
While referred to as a robot, the da Vinci® system – which is available at all Methodist hospitals – performs no surgical maneuvers of its own. Each surgical movement is performed by a surgeon seated at the control unit, which provides a 3D view and high level of detail of small blood vessels and other anatomy.
The unit’s instruments are jointed – which allows maneuverability in and out of small places – and the controls are made to mimic the hand motions of the surgeon in real time.
Other minimally invasive hysterectomy options include:
- Vaginal, which involves a small incision at the top of the vagina
- Laparoscopic, which involves the use of a laparoscope (small camera) and small incisions in the abdomen
As with any surgical method, a thorough evaluation by your provider is necessary to determine which hysterectomy option is best for you. Methodist is home to surgeons who are especially skilled at a variety of hysterectomies – and they’re trained to educate you on each.
When it comes to such a life-changing procedure, your preference matters. Ask questions. Be your own advocate. You are an important part of your care team, working toward a better quality of life – and a hysterectomy can serve as the bridge to get you there.