Having surgery on your reproductive organs doesn’t have to be an invasive surgical process. Doctors no longer need to make large incisions for these surgeries. At Women’s and Maternity Care Specialists in Winter Park, Florida, the team specializes in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. He’ll make sure your procedure is as seamless as possible, so you can get back to enjoying your life in no time.
Almost any surgery that was previously conducted through a large incision, can now be done with laparoscopic surgery. This method of minimally invasive surgery can be used for:
During surgery, Dr. K will make small quarter-inch incisions in your lower abdomen. You’ll likely need at least 2-4 incisions, depending on the type of procedure. The laparoscope is a thin tube with a very small camera at the end. He’ll insert the laparoscope through an incision near your belly button. That camera helps guide him to where he needs to go with the use of very small instruments that go into the other incisions.
Probably not. Because each incision is so small, Dr. K can usually use surgical glue to seal them up. Once the incisions are healed — usually after 3-4 days — the glue falls off and you’re left with a scab.
While you may not have a big scar to prove it, remember that even a minimally invasive procedure is still surgery. Plan to give yourself adequate time to recover. Most patients are up doing light activities and going to the bathroom the same day as surgery.
Depending on your procedure, you’ll likely be out of work for at least 3-5 days, although it will depend on your line of work and the activities involved. After 2-3 weeks, you should be able to go back to your normal exercise regimen, as well as all daily activities. By this time, you shouldn’t have any weight lifting limitations to worry about either.
Virtually any type of procedure that can be done in the traditional way, can be done laparoscopically. So there really isn’t a difference from a medical standpoint. The biggest benefit to you is that the recovery time with a laparoscopic procedure is much quicker, since there is less injured tissue that needs to heal.
In traditional laparoscopic surgery the instruments and camera are held directly the surgeon and assistant. Robotic surgery is a special type of laparoscopic surgery. It involves using a robot with 4 arms that is docked alongside the operating table. Three of these arms are used to hold instruments while the fourth arm holds a camera. All the arms are controlled by the surgeon from a console and the robot does not move unless the surgeon moves the controls.
Attaching the instruments to the robotic arms allows for smaller, more precise movements which can facilitate surgery complicated by scar tissue or small spaces. The instruments used on the robot also have an extra joint compared to the traditional laparoscopic instruments which allows for a wider range of motion.
The camera used in robotic surgery utilizes two high resolution cameras and can magnify up to 12x. This allows the surgeon to see three dimensionally and zoom in to better see details in the tissue.
Due to the time necessary to set up the robot and additional cost, it is not appropriate for all surgeries however can be beneficial in cases expected to be complicated by scar tissue, large uterine fibroids or large ovarian cysts.
Open surgery involves making an incision in the abdomen that typically is several inches long to visualize and operate on the organs and body parts in need of operation. Minimally invasive surgery involves operating on those same organs by making incisions that are typically only 1-1.5cm long. Laparoscopy and robotic surgery are both forms of minimally invasive surgery.
Almost any surgery that can be done through a large incision can be done by a minimally invasive approach. This includes tubal ligations, ovary or ovarian cyst removal, exploratory surgery to look for and treat causes of pelvic pain including endometriosis, treatment of ectopic pregnancies and hysterectomies.
The smaller incisions are beneficial compared to open surgery because the smaller incisions heal faster, are less painful and have less blood loss than a large incision.
This technique most commonly involve using two to four incisions in the abdomen, each measuring 0.5-1.5cm in length. Plastic tubes, trochars, will be placed through each of the incisions so instruments may be passed through easily without injuring the patient’s skin. The abdomen will then be inflated with gas to allow the surgeon to see and have room to operate. A camera will be placed through one of the trochars to allow the surgeon to visualize the organs within the abdomen and surgical instruments will be placed through the other trochars.
Instead of multiple small incisions, a 1.5 inch incision is made below the belly button and a plastic sleeve is placed to protect the skin. A gel cap is placed on top of the sleeve and 2-3 trochars are inserted through the gel cap. A camera and instruments are placed through the trochars. This approach is helpful when a cyst or fibroid needs to be removed and is too large to be removed through a 1cm incision
As with any surgery, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, disability, death and harm to other organs such as the bladder, bowel, ureters, nerves or blood vessels. If an organ is damaged, the surgeon may need to convert to open surgery by making a large incision in order to properly fixed the damage. Not all surgeries can be completed through a minimally invasive approach. Open surgery may be indicated in patients with very large cysts, fibroids or a uterus that is too large to be removed through small incisions. Open surgery may also be indicated in cases with a lot of scar tissue as this can inhibit the surgeon’s ability to see through the camera well enough to safely operate.
After the surgery is complete all of the instruments are removed and the gas is let out of the abdomen. The incisions are closed with stitches that will dissolve and covered with glue or bandaids.
The gas in the abdomen can cause irritation to the diaphragm which results in right shoulder pain therefore the patient is typically prescribed medication to help with gas pain in addition to pain medication. Typically rest and light duty is recommended for the first week after surgery with most patients being able to return to work after this recovery period. However, the healing process depends on the patient and what operation was performed therefore activity restrictions should always be discussed with the surgeon.
*Individual results may vary