A woman might need a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus, for several reasons. More than 600,000 of the procedures are performed each year in the United States, and about one-third of women have had a hysterectomy by the time they reach 60 years of age.
More and more hysterectomies are being done laparoscopically, many with the assistance of the DaVinci Robot, which is a type of minimally invasive surgery that offers significant benefits to the patient.
Dr. Pamela Kimbrough and the Lifes’ Cycle team can prepare you for and see you through your hysterectomy if you’re recommended for the procedure. Dr. Kimbrough has enthusiastically adopted minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic procedures as part of the services she offers, and performs them whenever possible.
Why might I need a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy can be the solution for several conditions, especially when medications and other measures haven’t been successful:
- Fibroid removal
- Endometriosis (when uterine lining tissue grows out of control) treatment
- Ovarian, endometrial, and ovarian cancer treatment
- Bladder or intestinal blockage caused by the uterus or a growth
- Endometrial hyperplasia (a thickening of the uterine lining leading to abnormal bleeding)
Years ago, a hysterectomy was often a major surgery that required considerable postsurgical downtime and involved a painful recovery. Open surgery like this required the surgeon to make a large, 6= to 8-inch-long abdominal incision.
Another option is a vaginal hysterectomy, which involves no incision, but is only appropriate for certain types of problems, such as uterine prolapse, or when the pelvic muscles and tissue weaken, allowing your uterus to descend into your vagina.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy: a major advance
Laparoscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery, which is, as its name states, less traumatic to the body than traditional, more invasive, open surgery. During these procedures, Dr. Kimbrough only needs to make a few very small abdominal incisions.
Next, she inserts a long, thin tube with a small surgical-grade camera (a laparoscope) on it into an incision. This enables her to see the surgical site better. Dr. Kimbrough also uses specially designed, smaller surgical instruments she places in the other small incisions to perform the surgery. Robotics adds even more advantage to the procedure, enabling more difficult procedures to be performed without the need for a large, open incision. Dr. Kimbrough uses with robotic “arms” that she connects to her instruments to perform the surgery. Robotics also makes recovery much more rapid and less painful; most patients go home within hours of their surgery and are back at work within a few weeks.
Both patients and providers are highly satisfied with minimally invasive procedures, like laparoscopic surgery, because of their clear advantages over open surgery:
- Faster healing and recovery
- Less pain
- Lower infection risk
- Reduced scarring
- Less bleeding
- A higher degree of surgical precision
Another significant advantage of these procedures? You return home on the day of your surgery, and some procedures can even be done right here in our offices.