Fibroids and Treatment Options
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 others, these fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia), abnormal periods, uterine bleeding, 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 like myomectomy. Myomectomy is a uterine-preserving procedure performed to remove uterine fibroids.
* Uterine fibroids are also called fibroids, uterine tumors, leiomyomata (singular – leiomyoma) and myomas or myomata (singular – myoma).
Types of Myomectomy
Each year, roughly 65,000 myomectomies are performed in the U.S. 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. Menorrhagia is extensive menstrual bleeding.
While myomectomy is also performed laparoscopically, this approach can be challenging for the surgeon, and may compromise results compared to open surgery. Laparoscopic myomectomies often take longer than open abdominal myomectomies, and up to 28% are converted during surgery to an open abdominal incision.
A new category of minimally invasive myomectomy, da Vinci Myomectomy, combines the best of open and laparoscopic surgery. With the assistance of the da Vinci Surgical System – the latest evolution in robotics technology – surgeons may remove uterine fibroids through small incisions with unmatched precision and control. Benefits of da Vinci Robot-Assisted Gynecologic Surgery
Traditional open gynecologic surgery, using a large incision for access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy, has for many years been the standard approach to many gynecologic procedures. Yet, open surgery can cause significant pain, physical trauma and a long recovery process. For women facing gynecologic surgery, the period of pain, discomfort and extended time away from normal daily activities that usually follows traditional surgery can also cause significant anxiety.
da Vinci enables GYN surgeons to perform more complex operations through just a few tiny incisions, thereby minimizing the need to perform traditional abdominal (open) surgery. As a result, da Vinci GYN surgeons can offer the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to a broader range of patients. Potential patient benefits include:
- Shorter hospital stay (one day in most cases versus 3-5)
- Significantly less pain post-operatively (often only over-the-counter pain meds required)
- Quicker recovery and return to normal activities (1-2 weeks versus 6-8 weeks)
- Fewer complications and less risk of infection
- Less scarring: small, dime-sized incisions versus 6-8 inch scar
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient and procedure.
If you would like to explore whether you are a candidate for robot-assisted myomectomy to treat fibroids, ask your doctor. For a referral to a Chilton physician, click here or call 1-888-CHILTON.
Surgeons who Perform Robot-Assisted
Gynecological Surgery at Chilton:
Khashayar Shakiba, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, pelvic reconstructive surgery, uterine and vaginal vault prolapse, urinary incontinence, myomectomy, tubal reanastomosis
Steven Domnitz, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, myomectomy, tubal reanastomosis
Shaghayegh DeNoble, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, urinary incontinence, myomectomy
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System visit www.davincisurgery.com