Have you been told that you need a hysterectomy? If so, you'll likely need to decide which type of procedure you want to have. It used to be that all hysterectomies were done through open abdominal surgeries. Advances in medical technology over the past few years, though, have opened up new procedures that may offer some benefits. For example, laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery are two alternatives that many women prefer over open abdominal surgery. Here are descriptions of the three different types of procedures and the benefits and considerations for each:
Open abdominal hysterectomy
In an open hysterectomy, also sometimes referred to as a total hysterectomy, the surgeon makes an incision in your lower abdomen that is several inches long. The incision can either run vertically or horizontally, depending on what your surgeon feels is the best course of action. The surgeon then removes your uterus and possibly also your cervix, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, depending on your condition.
There are two benefits to an open abdominal hysterectomy. One is that it's usually the least expensive of the three types of procedures. The other is that the surgeon will have a full view into the surgical area, which may give him or her more flexibility to deal with any complications that may arise.
Of course, there are some important considerations, too. One is that you will likely have a visible scar on your abdomen. The other is that your recovery time may be longer than with other methods. You may have to spend an extra day or two in the hospital and you could be off your feet for a longer period of time.
In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the surgeon inserts a tiny tube with a lighted camera through a small incision either in your abdomen or through your belly button. He or she then uses small laparoscopic instruments to remove the uterus in pieces through the small incision. During the procedure, the surgeon will be able to see what he or she is doing by watching a video screen that is connected to the camera.
Laparoscopic surgeries are popular because they usually have short recovery times and minimal visible scarring. However, they can't be used in some situations. For instance, if you have a large uterus or if you are overweight, the surgeon may not be able to use laparoscopic instruments. Also, if he or she needs to check for other conditions, the laparoscopic camera may not provide the view he or she needs.
Many surgeons are now offering robotic hysterectomies. In this procedure, the surgeon actually controls a robotic device which is used to perform the surgery. Again, a camera helps the surgeon view the surgery on a nearby screen. The robotic surgery combine the best of both worlds, in that it uses smaller instruments that leave little scarring, but the surgeon can also control them with precision. That means that robotic surgery can often be used in situations in which laparoscopic surgery may not be an option. Robotic surgery may cost more than open abdominal surgery, but it will likely leave you with less scarring and recovery time.
For more information, contact a center like Caring For Women.