Fibroid tumors sound much worse than they are.
“A fibroid is a benign mass that occurs in the uterus most commonly. About 60% of all women have fibroids and the individual fibroid itself, is a benign non-cancerous mass,” says Dr. Sarah DiGiorgi, ob/gyn on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Common - yes, but welcome - no. For many women they present problems.
“The problems that people have when they have fibroids are heavy bleeding, irregular bleeding; pressure symptoms if they’re really large. They can push forward on the bladder and cause urgency, frequency urination,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
They can also complicate getting pregnant.
“Number one, if there are a number of fibroids that are all within the lining of the uterus called the endometrium and it can make it difficulty for pregnancy to implant. The second complication, if they are growing near the tube or where the tube comes in from the uterus it can kind of block off that entrance and the sperm can’t enter,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
For those reasons, many women want their fibroids removed. The procedure is called myomectomy. But they have to balance the prospect of surgery with the overall benefit. New robotic techniques may make that choice easier.
“Absolutely, so the daVinci robot is minimally invasive surgery, smaller incisions on the abdomen in order to have a shorter recovery time,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
The robot offers doctors much more dexterity and by operating through a series of small poke holes, patients have much less trauma to the body. Especially compared to traditional open surgery.
“If you have open surgery, we usually tell people you can’t drive for two weeks while they’re still taking medication. You’re able to go back to work in six weeks you don’t feel 100% like yourself until eight weeks. As far as robot surgery, those people are usually out of the hospital within 24 hours, and they only need narcotics for a couple of days and most people are usually back to work within two weeks,” says Dr. DiGiorgi.
Location of the fibroids is a factor in whether someone is a candidate for a robotic myomectomy. But for the right person it can make their decision and surgery, simpler.