What is a hysterectomy and what conditions call for this procedure?
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of part of all of a woman’s reproductive organs. Women who undergo a hysterectomy are no longer able to become pregnant. A hysterectomy is used to treat a range of gynecological issues, including: pelvic pain, fibroids, heavy/painful periods, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and cancer.
What are the different surgical approaches to a hysterectomy?
- Open incision. Though open abdominal surgery is truly an old school method for this procedure, about 60% of hysterectomies in our country are still performed this way. Open incision surgery carries a greater risk for infection, blood loss, more pain, and of course, a 6 to 12-inch scar. In addition, open surgery means a couple of nights in the hospital and recovery period of up to six weeks.
- Vaginal hysterectomy. This involves removing the uterus through the vagina. It’s better than an open incision hysterectomy, however, a vaginal hysterectomy does not allow the surgeon a good view of the surgical field and surrounding organs, like the bladder.
- da Vinci Robotic Surgery. This state-of-the-art approach is significantly more complicated for the surgeon but offers immense benefits to the patient. The system is minimally invasive; only a few tiny incisions are required. As with traditional laparoscopy, slender instruments are inserted through tiny incisions. The difference is that in the da Vinci system, these instruments are attached to robotic arms. The movement of the arms is manipulated with remarkable precision by Dr. Lipeles from a nearby computer. With this approach, most women go home just two hours after surgery and can resume regular activities in just two weeks.
Which approach does Dr. Lipeles use?
Dr. Lipeles is one of a very few gynecologists in the greater West Los Angeles area with extensive experience in performing hysterectomies utilizing the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. While it is truly the most advanced approach, delivering the best results for this surgery, the learning curve in performing hysterectomies with robotic assistance is steep. This is why so few OB/GYNs provide robotic-assisted hysterectomies and also why patients should always select a surgeon who has extensive experience in using this technology. Not only has Dr. Lipeles performed hundreds of hysterectomies with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, he also teaches other physician how to use this sophisticated approach.