The uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are the three main organs of the female reproductive system, located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. These important organs can affect fertility, hormones and other body systems.
Benign gynecological issues, including problems with your period or hormones, can be addressed with medication and other treatments. But when these options are not effective, surgery might be required.
For malignant conditions including uterine or ovarian cancer, symptoms may include a prolonged sensation of bloating, abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge, pain or difficulty when emptying the bladder, pain during sex, or pain in the pelvic area. Uterine cancer is diagnosed usually with a pelvic exam, ultrasound and biopsy.
Treatment options may include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or chemotherapy. Treatment depends on the cancer stage.
Traditional open gynecologic surgery, using a large incision for access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy, has been the standard approach to many gynecologic procedures. Open surgery can come with significant pain, blood loss, a long recovery process and increased incidence of incision-site infections.
For hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, robotic-assisted surgery may be the most effective type of minimally invasive surgery. Robotic-assisted surgery uses a computer-assisted technology to aid in surgical procedures, enhancing the patient's experience and the surgeon's dexterity. Rather than operating on patients through large incisions, surgeons at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital use miniaturized surgical instruments that fit through a series of small incisions to reduce scarring and recovery time. Through tiny incisions, our surgeons can operate with greater precision and control, minimizing the pain and risk associated with large incisions while increasing the likelihood of a faster recovery and with excellent clinical outcomes.
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors occurring in at least one quarter of all women. They can grow underneath the uterine lining, inside the uterine wall or outside the uterus.
Many women don't feel any symptoms with uterine tumors or fibroids. But for some, these fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia), abnormal periods, pain, discomfort, frequent urination and infertility.
Treatments include uterine fibroid embolization (which shrinks the tumor) and surgery. Surgical treatment for uterine tumors most often involves the surgeon removing the entire uterus via hysterectomy.
While hysterectomy is a proven way to resolve fibroids, it may not be the best surgical treatment for every woman. If, for example, you hope to later become pregnant, you may want to consider alternatives to hysterectomy.
Myomectomy is a uterus-sparing procedure in which fibroids are removed and the uterus remains. The conventional approach to myomectomy is open surgery through a large abdominal incision. After cutting around and removing each uterine fibroid, the surgeon must carefully repair the uterine wall to minimize potential uterine bleeding, infection and scarring. Proper repair is also critical to reducing the risk of uterine rupture during future pregnancies.
Robotic-assisted laparoscopic myomectomy allows surgeons at Deaconess Hospital to remove uterine fibroids through small incisions, preserving the uterus and allowing for the option of future pregnancy, while decreasing the size of abdominal incision and scarring.
Potential benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include:
Robotic-assisted surgery may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.