Many women consider undergoing gynecologic surgery for a variety of conditions such as abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. Historically, these surgeries were often done through large abdominal incisions requiring long hospitalizations and recovery time, increased scar tissue and increased risks of bleeding and infection.
In contrast, many women now have the option of having these procedures performed with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques. MIS techniques are usually associated with less pain, quicker recovery, and lower risks of infection and bleeding. These surgical methods include vaginal surgery, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy.
A hysterectomy refers to the removal of a women’s uterus (womb) and possibly the cervix. Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgeries in the United States, with approximately 600,000 performed annually . Reasons for performing a hysterectomy include pelvic pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, fibroids, pelvic organ prolapse and cancer. There are two main types of hysterectomies: total and supracervical. A total hysterectomy refers to removal of the uterus and the cervix (It is a common misconception that a total hysterectomy includes removal of the ovaries. If the ovaries are to be removed, your surgeon will refer to that as a bilateral salpingoophorectomy or BSO.). A supracervical hysterectomy refers to removal of just the uterus with the cervix being left in place. Your surgeon may give you the option to keep or remove your cervix, but in some circumstances removal of the cervix is medically warranted. Hysterectomies that are performed for treatment of cancer generally will involve removal of both the uterus and cervix. Women having a hysterectomy for any of the first three reasons may elect to have either a total or supracervical hysterectomy (Figure 1). If the hysterectomy is for pelvic organ prolapse, the cervix may or may not need to be removed based on the type of prolapse repair that you need. In the United States in 2003, six percent of all hysterectomies performed were supracervical . ( READ MORE )
MISforWomen.com is a service of the AAGL, a non-profit association of minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons from all over the world. For over 40 years, the surgeons in the AAGL have worked to advance the minimally invasive surgical procedures and technologies that now allow millions of women each year to experience less pain and return to their daily routines more quickly following surgery.