No one wants to have surgery, but the good news is that state-of-the-art techniques such as laparoscopy for removing fibroids can make it as minimally invasive as possible.
Dr. Thomas Hatchett and Britteny Barron, our midwife nurse practitioner, not only help women through their pregnancy journeys, but we also do so much more at Habersham OBGYN in Demorest, Georgia. We provide personalized, compassionate care for women of all ages and at all stages of life, including those struggling with reproductive health issues like fibroids.
Fibroids are growths that occur in the uterus and are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues. They can range in size from a pea to a melon and grow at different speeds even within the same woman.
They are very common, with 70 to 80 percent of women having them in their lifetimes, though some may not realize it; not everyone has symptoms or needs treatment. Most often they are found when undergoing a routine pelvic exam. Women who are close to menopause have the greatest risk. Symptoms can include abnormal bleeding such as heavy and long periods and bleeding between periods. Pelvic pain may also occur.
The cause of fibroids is unknown though having a family history increases the odds. More than 99 percent are non-cancerous.
Laparoscopic surgery can be done for a wide variety of reasons, including treatment of fibroids, large ovarian cysts, urinary incontinence, and more. Whereas traditional surgery involves one large incision and doctors working directly on the pelvic organs, laparoscopic surgery only requires a few small ones.
Also known as a myomectomy, the removal of fibroids using laparoscopic surgery involves taking out the fibroids and reconstructing the uterus. This is different from a hysterectomy, where the entire uterus is removed.
Typically, the doctor makes one small incision near the belly button where a narrow tube with a camera — a laparoscope — is inserted to view the area. The surgery itself is performed with instruments inserted through other minor incisions in the abdominal wall.
Benefits of this minimally invasive treatment include lower rates of complications, less blood loss, and a faster recovery time. Most women are able to go home the day of the procedure with oral medication for pain. A return to daily activities can usually begin during the first week, though exercising and heavy lifting should be avoided for two weeks. Full recovery should occur in four to six weeks.
After the procedure, most women have less pelvic pain and pressure along with a decrease in excessive menstrual bleeding. Fertility also typically shows improvement (though attempts at conception should not occur for three to six months to give the uterus time to heal).
Whether you're experiencing excess bleeding and pelvic pain or have already been diagnosed with fibroids, we can help. Call our office for an appointment today or book one online and find out if laparoscopic fibroid surgery is right for you.