It used to be when a woman needed a hysterectomy she could expect full abdominal surgery with a long recovery time. Dr. Melissa Lee uses less invasive methods that can cut the patients downtime in half.
“We were trained in more laparoscopic and minimally invasive cases so of course that’s what I’m more comfortable with doing right now.”
She sees a new generation of patients opting for laparoscopic surgery.
“Laparoscopy is the use of small cameras with small incisions and instruments that are guided by the hand, and you’re able to see directly into the abdomen without actually fully opening the abdomen,” says Dr. Lee, an obstetrician-gynecologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Nowadays, even a large mass or uterus can be removed using the slender tools.
“There are multiple different laparoscopic instruments that you can use. Whether they’re blunt dissections or just dissectors that hold and retract back or actual scissors or cutting instruments, there are multiple different options,” says Dr. Lee.
While a standard abdominal hysterectomy requires a four to eight inch incision, the laparoscope needs only a quarter to half inch. It’s enough to make a big difference in terms of recovery.
“They’re able to get up and move around faster. They’re able to recover faster, their pain level and their need for pain medicine is much lower,” says Dr. Lee.
The laparoscopic procedure also cuts down on scarring and more importantly, shortens the hospital stay. The trend now is home within 24 hours.
“Where the patient is done early in the morning, they’re doing well they’re tolerating oral intake they’re able to getup and move around. And those patients a lot of times will feel comfortable to go home that same nigh after a major surgery,” says Dr. Lee.New studies show women who’ve had a laparoscopic hysterectomy viewed their quality of life as better than those who had an open abdominal procedure, making this a good option for the right patient.