Traditionally a woman needing a hysterectomy faced open abdominal surgery and a two-month recovery. Today, many patients are candidates for the less invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy.
What Is a "Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?"
Laparoscopic hysterectomy is a relatively new surgical procedure that allows the uterus to be detached inside the body while the doctor is viewing the uterus, tubes, and ovaries through a camera attached to a telescope. Special tools (called "laparoscopic instruments") are used to make and suture incisions. After the uterus is detached, it is removed through a small incision in the lower abdomen.
Benefits of a laparoscopic hysterectomy include:
- Smaller incisions (1/2 inch)
- Less post-surgical pain than that of abdominal hysterectomy
- Shorter hospital stay, possibly just 1 day
- Ability to resume normal activity in about 2 weeks, substantially shorter than for abdominal hysterectomy and slightly shorter than for vaginal hysterectomy
How to know if a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is the Best Option for You
For women who have pelvic scar tissue (endometriosis), laparoscopic surgery allows the surgeon to remove the diseased tissue with the laparoscope before performing a vaginal hysterectomy, thereby reducing the risk that the intestines or bladder might be injured during surgery.
For patients who have fibroids that are large and might otherwise be difficult to remove by vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy allows the surgeon to detach the blood vessels to the uterus while viewing them through the laparoscope. Then, the uterus can be removed through the vagina more easily.