Uterine fibroids, which cause bothersome symptoms such as pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, are a common reason for consultation with a gynecologist. Fibroids themselves can cause infertility or lead to miscarriages.
Fibroids account for approximately 40 percent of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States each year.
Traditional Surgery for Fibroids
Until recently, 70 to 80 percent of these procedures were performed with a traditional abdominal incision requiring several weeks of recuperation.
This type of surgery -- shown in the animation below -- is more painful and leaves a larger scar than the new laparoscopic fibroid surgery done at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.
Minimally Invasive Fibroid Surgery
Today, the surgeons at the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery perform a procedure called a laparoscopic myomectomy to treat uterine fibroids. This less invasive procedure is shown in the animation below.
Women who have a laparoscopic myomectomy generally experience shorter hospital stays, less pain and faster recovery times with a quicker return to normal activities than women who have traditional surgery.
Since a myomectomy may result in a build up of scar tissue, fertility may be impaired even though infertility is sometimes helped with the procedure.
At Cedars-Sinai, surgeons take advantage of the latest advances in robotics to perform a laparoscopic myomectomy instead of a traditional abdominal incision with the goal of a more precise removal of the fibroids.
Both the laparoscopic myomectomy and traditional surgery are performed with the intention of enabling a woman to preserve her uterus giving her the opportunity to bear children in the future, although sometimes fibroid removal may leave a woman's ability to conceive and bear children impaired. Either procedure may resolve infertility problems since there appears to be a close relationship between uterine fibroids and infertility.
If a hysterectomy is required, many patients, even those with large fibroids, are candidates for a laparoscopic hysterectomy. It usually offers the same benefits of less pain, fewer complications, faster recovery and less scarring than traditional surgery.