Minimally-invasive surgery uses small incisions and special instruments to perform an array of procedures that once could only be performed using large incisions. Minimally-invasive procedures typically are performed using a special instrument called a laparoscope, which is equipped with a tiny camera. The camera is used to capture detailed images inside the surgical site, then transmits those images to a screen, enabling the surgeon to see a clear, magnified image of the area. The surgeon uses those images to guide surgical instruments to perform the procedure. Some minimally-invasive surgeries use a special surgical robot to perform portions of a procedure where a very high degree of accuracy is needed.
Many gynecologic procedures can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques, including:
Laparoscopy can also be performed diagnostically to determine the cause of pain, infertility, and other symptoms.
Studies show minimally-invasive surgery is associated with far less tissue damage and less blood loss, as well as fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. Plus, patients who have minimally-invasive procedures experience less post op pain and enjoy much faster recovery times along with less scarring.
Advances in techniques and technology have increased the number and kinds of traditional surgeries that can now be performed with minimally-invasive surgery. Even so, many surgeries, such as the removal of cancerous tumors, still require a larger incision to ensure complete removal of all cancerous tissue and to allow for a more thorough examination of the region to be sure it’s clear.
There are two basic approaches to minimally-invasive hysterectomy.
In one approach, tiny incisions are made through the skin of the lower belly to provide access to the uterus. The uterus will be removed through one of these very small incisions.
In the second approach, the uterus is removed through an incision made through the vaginal wall. Many women prefer this approach — sometimes called a vaginal hysterectomy — because it leaves no external scarring.
The approach used in a specific patient will be determined by several factors, including the patient’s overall health and the reason for the hysterectomy.
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