Duke gynecologists Stanely Filip, MD, and Craig Sobolewski, MD, answer questions about minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.
Is surgery the only way to treat uterine fibroid tumors?
Filip: No. Several minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures are now available, enabling many women with uterine fibroids to forego the traditional surgical treatments -- hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and myomectomy (excision of individual fibroids) -- and reduce their recovery time, risk of complications, and pain.
These leading-edge procedures include:
MRI-guided focused ultrasound: A non-surgical way to remove fibroids while protecting surrounding tissue
Laparoscopic and hysteroscopic myomectomy: Minimally invasive techniques for removing larger fibroids
Uterine artery embolization: A radiological procedure that shrinks or destroys the tumors by blocking the blood flow to them
My gynecologist recommends a hysterectomy to treat my medical condition. Isn’t this major surgery?
Sobolewski: It doesn’t have to be. Nowadays, hysterectomies can be performed laparoscopically in many cases.
Laparoscopic hysterectomies are done with a tiny camera and slender surgical instruments inserted through an approximately three-fourths-inch incision made inside or very near the patient’s belly button.
This minimally invasive approach reduces the pain, complication risk, and downtime associated with traditional open surgery, and the miniscule scar is virtually invisible.