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A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Hysterectomies are performed for a wide variety of reasons. A hysterectomy is major surgery, but with new technological advances, the discomfort, risk of infection and recovery time has all been decreased.
There are currently three surgical approaches to hysterectomies:
- Open, traditional hysterectomy - This involves a six to twelve inch incision made in the abdominal wall.
- Vaginal hysterectomy - This involves removing the uterus through the vagina. This approach is less invasive than the open, traditional hysterectomy, but still does not allow the surgeon a full view of the surrounding organs, including the bladder.
- Robotic-assisted radical total laparoscopic hysterectomy - Using a state-of-the art robotic platform allows the surgeon a full view of the surrounding organs and more precise control over incisions.
- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy - A portion of the operation (intra-abdominal) is completed with the laparoscope and the remainder of the operation (vaginal incision, excision of cervical tissues) is completed transvaginally (through the vagina).
- Total laparoscopic hysterectomy - When the entire operation is performed using the laparoscope and the surgical specimen is removed via the vagina.
The type of hysterectomy performed and the technique used to perform the procedure will be determined by your physician, based upon your particular situation.
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a procedure that allows for removal of the uterus with only a few very small incisions. Laparoscopic surgery allows a surgeon to perform a major surgery with minimal recovery for the patient: Because the incisions are very small, this allows for less postoperative pain and a shorter recovery period. Most women will be able to go home the morning after their procedure, some even on the same day. Many women can be back to work in a matter of two to four weeks following laparoscopic hysterectomy rather than the standard six to eight weeks with a traditional open surgery. This shorter, less painful surgical process allows doctors to very effectively treat women with heavy, painful periods, pelvic pain or other surgical complaints and get them back to their lives with minimal interruption.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy requires smaller incisions to remove the uterus. Watch as gynecologist Kristine Borrison, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital, explain how laparoscopic hysterectomy is performed.
In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, a surgeon uses several small incisions to remove the uterus and the cervix, explains Ricardo Estape, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Baptist Health South Florida.
A laparoscopic hysterectomy requires only a small incision near the navel for the insertion of a laparoscope and then other quarter-inch incisions (ports) in the abdomen for other surgical instruments. Benefits include less bleeding and scarring, reduced pain, much shorter hospital stays and decreased recovery time of abdominal hysterectomy.
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