Today's Medicine

Innovative Technology for Hysterectomies Provides Women a Quicker Return to Normal

Published: 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:

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.

Robotic-Assisted Technology

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.

Individualized Care

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.

More Resources

About the Author

Lori Platt, MD, an OB/GYN with Methodist Physicians Clinic, feels so lucky to care for the women in her community.

“I see women at some of the happiest times of their lives and also some of the saddest times of their lives,” she said. “Whether it’s caring for a patient during a pregnancy, listening to her current struggles during her annual exam or walking her through a breast cancer diagnosis. I really enjoy being a part of each one of those moments.”

As a breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Platt is humbled to work with the same people who cared for her during one of the most trying times of her life. She’s proud to work for an organization that puts patients first with a team-based approach.

 “The Meaning of Care is when I watch my partner hold the hands of a patient who is leaning over for a spinal because she’s scared and nervous about her C-section. It’s watching one of my labor and delivery nurses stay past her shift to deliver a baby – even though she has kids of her own to go home – because she wants to watch that patient develop her new family. The Meaning of Care is something you can’t put into words, but I experience it every day when I come to work.”

See more articles from Lori Platt, MD
Lori Platt, MD