New Hysterectomy Technique Leaves Cervix In Place

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 7, 2009
Contact: Mary Muhlbradt
(701)857-5116, Fax: (701)857-5683
mary.muhlbradt@trinityhealth.org

New Hysterectomy Technique Leaves Cervix In Place

(MINOT, ND)—A hysterectomy used to involve a large incision and a lengthy recovery. Small-incision options emerged in recent years for women seeking to have their uterus removed. Now a new procedure is available – one that leaves the cervix intact.

Drs. David Billings, James Bozeman and Arie Fischbach, all obstetrician/gynecologists with Trinity Medical Group, describe laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy, or LSH, as a minimally-invasive technique that lets the surgeon carefully separate the uterus from the cervix and remove it through one of three tiny abdominal incisions.

According to Dr. Billings, preservation of the cervix has certain advantages for women: “Some research suggests that leaving the cervix in place may help reduce the risk of prolapse or loss of pelvic support. That’s a condition where the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvis weaken, causing the organs to fall from their normal position and in some cases even protrude into the vagina.”

He says evidence also suggests that LSH may have benefits with regard to urinary and sexual function. And since there is less manipulation of organs and tissue during the surgery, there is less discomfort afterwards.

During LSH, small surgical instruments and a larparoscope – a thin tube with a light source and a tiny camera at the end of it – are inserted through tiny incisions in the navel and abdomen. The surgeon manipulates the instruments to perform the surgery internally while viewing the procedure on a TV screen.

LSH can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis under general or regional anesthesia, which means that a woman can be home resting comfortably within 24 hours and back to normal activity in less than a week.

“It’s a great procedure,” Dr. Fischbach states. “It’s similar to what we’ve been doing for many years, but with big-time improvements. I’d say that for women who need a hysterectomy, who would like to get in and out of hospital in a day and back to functioning in a week – this is something they may want to seriously consider.”

One thing to keep in mind is that because the cervix is left in place, a woman must be willing to continue regular screening tests for cervical cancer. Dr. Billings adds, “It’s important to know your options and discuss them with your doctor.”

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgery on women, after C-section. About a third of American women will have a hysterectomy by the time they are 60 years of age.