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Laparoscopic Hysterectomy: What Is It?

Abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy are two options for women facing removal of the uterus. A third option is the laparoscopic hysterectomy. In this surgery, the first incision is made just below the navel. A thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted into to incision allowing the surgeon to view the abdominal cavity.

Once the doctor has viewed the reproductive organs, he will make additional incisions, usually about one inch long. Through theses incisions he will place tiny instruments to detach the uterus from its supporting structures and cut it into small pieces which can be removed through the incisions. Following completion of the surgery the incisions are sutured.

The laparoscope, or small camera may be used to assist in vaginal hysterectomies. The disadvantage of a vaginal hysterectomy is that the doctor has no direct view of the abdominal cavity. By inserting a laparoscope in a small incision below the navel, the surgeon has a clear view of the uterus and surrounding organs, and can still complete a vaginal procedure.

Another type of laparoscopic hysterectomy is the supracervical hysterectomy. In this surgery the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left intact. The advantages of leaving the cervix intact where medically possible is that there is less chance of sexual dysfunction and the cervix helps provide support for surrounding organs.

The recovery time for laparoscopic hysterectomy is shorter than that for a traditional abdominal hysterectomy. Because laparoscopic surgery is less invasive, the risk of post surgical complications, like infection, is reduced. It is typically performed under general anesthesia and there is always the risk of adverse reaction to anesthesia.

Not every patient is a candidate for laparoscopic hysterectomy. It is effective for women with small to medium fibroids and mild to moderate endometriosis. The patient and surgeon must decide if this is the right procedure, or if a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy or an abdominal hysterectomy may be more appropriate treatment.

Hysterectomies are only performed in women under thirty five in cases where there are no other medical options. Women who have a hysterectomy can no longer have children. There have been other reported side effects of hysterectomy including sexual dysfunction. Women should discuss their concerns with their doctor and possibly get a second opinion from another qualified doctor before undergoing surgery.

The most common conditions requiring hysterectomy are benign fibroid tumors, endometriosis, and uterine cancer. While there are other medical treatments for endometriosis and fibroid tumors, in most cases, hysterectomy is the best option for treatment of uterine malignancy.

As medical science progresses doctors have come to agreed, the less invasive surgery is , the better the outcome is likely to be. For this reason, more doctors are turning to vaginal and laparoscopic procedures whenever possible. Women prefer less invasive surgeries, because they leave little to no scarring. Older patients tend to withstand less invasive procedures better. There are fewer post surgical complications and a shorter recovery period.

A woman facing a hysterectomy should discuss her surgical options with her doctor. It may not be possible or appropriate for all patients to have vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomies. If you doctor feels you should have a traditional abdominal hysterectomy, find out his reasons. If you have any doubts, always seek a second opinion.

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