Source: Central Jersey.com
Many women delay seeking treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding, tolerating it in order to focus on taking care of their families and their careers first. Moreover, many believe they aren’t candidates for laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery. So they continue to suffer — sometimes for years.
While some women opt to do nothing, there are several safe and effective minimally invasive surgical options to deal with structural abnormalities of the uterus:
• Hysteroscopy, a procedure during which doctors insert a thin tube with a tiny camera into the uterus and clip off any polyps or shave away fibroids. The procedure is performed through the vagina and typically takes less than an hour.
• Endometrial ablation, which destroys the lining of the uterus to stop or reduce the total amount of bleeding. An ablation is not a form of contraception, and pregnancy is not recommended after ablation. Women who have endometrial ablation will need to use birth control until menopause.
• Myomectomy, a surgical procedure to remove fibroids that leaves the uterus in place to preserve the ability to have children. Depending on the location, number, and size of fibroids different approaches are possible. There is always a chance that new fibroids can develop over time, and this should be discussed with your doctor.
• Hysterectomy, or the surgical removal of all or part of the uterus. While most people assume all reproductive organs are removed during hysterectomy, often the ovaries can remain in place so women can avoid early menopause.
Robotic-assisted surgery enables surgeons to perform complex gynecological surgeries with greater precision and control, minimizing the pain and risk associated with large incisions while increasing the likelihood of a fast recovery and positive clinical outcome. In most cases, women can return home the same day and most can return to work within two weeks.
For women with a significant number of fibroids, however, open surgery may still be necessary to remove the fibroids and preserve the uterus for fertility.
It’s important that women talk openly with their doctor to identify a treatment approach that is right for them. Women shouldn’t be shy about asking questions, including about surgical expertise and the number of procedures their doctor performs. And no matter what, a woman should be fully confident in her decision to proceed with surgery.
By Shyama S. Mathews, M.D., a board certified gynecologist, minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon, and member of the medical staff at Penn Medicine Princeton Health. To find a physician with Penn Medicine Princeton Health call 888-742-7496 or visit PrincetonHCS.org.