Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery
Northwestern Medical GroupMinimally Invasive Gynecological Surgical Procedure Program
When medication and non-invasive procedures are unable to relieve gynecological symptoms, surgery remains the accepted and most effective treatment for a range of gynecologic conditions including uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, uterine prolapse and menorrhagia or excessive bleeding.
Traditional open gynecologic surgery, using a large incision to access the uterus, has been the standard approach to many gynecologic procedures for decades and remains a good option for many circumstances. Open surgery is safe, but can result in a longer recovery process and extended time away from normal activities.
Fortunately, less invasive options are available.
Northwestern Medical Group’s Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgical procedure program offers laparoscopy and hysteroscopy procedures to diagnose and treat a wide range of common gynecological conditions.
This is an advanced surgical technique that requires only a small incision or incisions to diagnose or treat female conditions that have traditionally required surgically opening the abdomen.
Gynecological surgeons use a laparoscope, a small surgical instrument with multiple lenses, inserted through a small incision into the abdomen. Video images are displayed on a monitor in the operating room allowing the surgeon to see the internal structures of the body in remarkable detail. Other instruments are inserted through other similarly small incisions, the largest incision being approximately one-half inch, to perform surgery. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are used by the surgeon in removing tumors and diseased tissue to restore the body’s anatomy and normal function. Alternatively, a hysteroscope, similar to a laparoscope, may be inserted into the uterus through the vagina and cervix to evaluate the uterine cavity and to perform surgery to remove abnormal structures such as fibroids and polyps.
Optimal visibility, enhanced precision, and absence of a large incision made possible by minimally invasive surgery minimize blood loss during surgery and reduce the chance of a post-operative infection. Since minimally invasive gynecological surgery eliminates the need for a large incision, patients recover faster, often with less pain and scarring. Depending on the type of surgery, most patients can safely go home the same or next day and resume full activities considerably sooner than with traditional open surgery.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery
Traditional, Open-abdominal Hysterectomy:
Minimally Invasive Gynecology Surgery:
While a range of non-invasive treatment options are available to women to relieve symptoms of benign conditions, surgery remains the accepted and most effective treatment option for a range of gynecologic conditions. These include, but are not limited to uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, uterine prolapse and menorrhagia or excessive bleeding.
For complex hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, robot-assisted surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may be the most effective, least invasive treatment option. Through tiny, one to two-centimeter incisions, surgeons using the da VinciSystem can take advantage of instrumentation that is more sophisticated than standard laparoscopic instruments and operate with greater precision and control, increasing the likelihood of a fast recovery and excellent clinical outcomes.
Procedures that may be completed using robot-assisted surgery include:
Hysterectomy - typically refers to the removal of the uterus, but there are several types of hysterectomy.
Myomectomy - sometimes also fibroidectomy, refers to the surgical removal of uterine fibroids. In contrast to a hysterectomy, the uterus remains preserved and the woman retains her reproductive potential.
Endometriosis Resection - patients suspected of severe scarring from endometriosis, which is a condition that can cause chronic pain and infertility, benefit from surgical removal of the diseased tissue.
Sacrocolpopexy - a surgical procedure for repairing vaginal vault prolapse and restoring the length and shape of the vaginal canal. When the position of the vagina is compromised through childbirth or aging, this procedure lifts the vagina back up to its normal position. A synthetic mesh is stitched to the top of the vagina and then attached to a ligament on the sacrum for support
Non-Surgical, Office Procedures
Endometrial Ablation - a quick and effective treatment that takes place in the gynecologist’s office to treat heavy bleeding. The endometrium, or the lining of the uterus (the part that causes the bleeding), is cauterized or ablated. No incisions are necessary and the patient can return to normal activity by the end of the day. For 90 percent of women, menstrual bleeding is dramatically reduced or stopped.
Essure Permanent Birth Control -Essure is an incision-free permanent birth control procedure that creates a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy. During this procedure performed in the gynecologist’s office, soft flexible coil inserts are placed into the fallopian tubes through the vagina. Over the next three months, a natural barrier within the fallopian tubes is formed around the inserts. This barrier prevents sperm from reaching the egg so that pregnancy cannot occur. During this three-month period, patients must continue to use another form of birth control.