Minimally invasive hysterectomies: Less pain, faster recovery.
Article Date: Feb 28, 2013
Gina Hasse packs a lot into every day. Between family and work, she has a full schedule. Gina didn't have time for a little stomach pain - but medical emergencies are never convenient.
"I was having pain but I didn't think it was anything serious", said Gina.
But it was very serious. An x-ray uncovered an ovarian cyst the size of a volleyball. Women's Health Specialist Dr. Jeffrey Stearnes with Alegent Creighton Clinic knew the cyst had to come out. Gina also needed a hysterectomy.
"In the past we would have made a large abdominal incision", Dr. Stearnes said.
That's what Gina was afraid of - a large incision with significant down time. She had no idea Dr. Stearnes could do something called a minimally invasive hysterectomy. It's still surgery - but three small incisions replace one large 10 inch incision.
"That's big a deal because most of the pain from surgery is from the incision to the skin", said Dr. Stearnes.
Close to 40 percent of all hysterectomies are still done with one large incision. Because hysterectomies are so common, especially with women in their 40's and 50's, Dr. Stearnes wants patients to know they have options.
"One third of all women will have a hysterectomy. They no longer need a big abdominal incision with a three day hospital stay and six to eight week recovery. Now you can go into the hospital have your surgery and go home the next day", Dr. Stearnes said.
Gina did just that, Dr. Stearnes drained and removed the cyst, her cervix, uterus and both ovaries. Even after a complete hysterectomy, Gina was back to work and back on the mend in no time.
"I came back to work part-time in five days. Within a month, I was doing everything I did before. I was back to work full- time, playing with grandkids and bowling. Anything I wanted to do, I was able to do - it was just great", Gina said.
And that's why Gina is telling her story, so other women who might need a hysterectomy know minimally invasive hysterectomies are not only available - they should be asking for them.
"Why should any woman have to go through a long surgery, be in a lot of pain, and be out of work long periods of time if there's a better way to do it", Gina said.