If you are considering getting a hysterectomy, chances are you have a lot of questions that can only be answered by a qualified Raleigh OBGYN. It is difficult to decipher what is fact and what is fiction in this area of women’s health. The doctors and staff at Carolina Women’s Health believe that you should have the best information available to you before deciding to get a hysterectomy. We are proud to be your trusted specialists in women’s health care in Raleigh, NC and want to ensure that you get the best in gynecological surgery services.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a rather common gynecological surgery in the United States. There are over 600,000 hysterectomies a year, making it a very common procedure. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus for a variety of women’s health conditions. However not all hysterectomies are the same. Depending upon your health condition, your doctor may advise you to proceed with one of three types of hysterectomies.
Types of hysterectomies:
Supracervical Hysterectomy: surgical removal of the uterus leaving the cervix in its place.
Total Hysterectomy: removal of the cervix and uterus.
Radical Hysterectomy or Modified Radical Hysterectomy: a complete removal of the uterus, cervix, and parts of the vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and lymph nodes usually due to a gynecological cancer diagnosis. Removing certain parts can help doctors to determine what stage your cancer is in and how far it has spread to other parts of your body.
How are hysterectomies performed?
Hysterectomies are considered an open surgery — meaning that it involves removing the uterus and other parts of the reproductive system via a large abdominal incision that can be as long as 6 to 12 inches. This is especially true for women who have been diagnosed with various reproductive cancers. An open surgery approach allows surgeons and your medical team to decipher if other parts of your reproductive system need to be removed.
Some conditions requiring a hysterectomy may be done via a minimally invasive surgery called a vaginal hysterectomy. The uterus is removed through the vagina without having to make any incision or having to suffer the after effects of scarring. This option is optimal for women with a normal sized uterus and their condition does not affect other parts of the reproductive system.
You may also opt to receive a laparoscopic hysterectomy. With the help of technology, surgeons are able to view your reproductive system via a miniature camera that can be placed into the body through an incision in the abdomen or the vagina. The images are displayed on a 2D monitor giving surgeons a better view of the uterus and surrounding areas than a traditional vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy alone.
Vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomies offer women many benefits when compared to an open abdominal hysterectomy.
Benefits of minimally invasive gynecological surgeries:
Reduced risk for complications during surgery
Shorter hospital stays
Faster recovery period
However, you should be advised that there are drawbacks to vaginal and laparoscopic surgeries as well.
Disadvantages to minimally invasive gynecological surgeries:
A small surgical working area diminishes the view of the pelvic organs.
If you have had a prior surgery, like a C-section, you may have internal scars that can hinder the surgeon’s full view.
Women with severe endometriosis may find that minimally invasive surgeries may be more difficult.
If you have a cancer that is not in the uterus, but in other areas of the reproductive organs, a minimally invasive surgery may be more of a challenge.
The da Vinci Hysterectomy
The newest technology in minimally invasive hysterectomies is the da Vinci Hysterectomy. This state of the art medical technology may be the answer to some of the disadvantages to other minimally invasive gynecological surgeries. The da Vinci Hysterectomy utilizes the same smaller incision in the abdomen as laparoscopic surgery. However da Vinci Hysterectomy system has powerful advanced technology that allows surgeons to view the surgical area via a 3D high definition vision system. It also features the use of a robotic arm that has wrists that are far more flexible than any human wrist. This will give the surgeon a lot more dexterity, control, and precision during your surgery.