Many women undergo hysterectomies every year to remove part or all of their reproductive organs. The reasons vary from uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, and other disorders. There are many different ways of performing a hysterectomy, although more women than ever are undergoing minimally invasive operations, such as the revolutionary new incisionless single-site hysterectomies. These procedures are robotically assisted for greater precision. A single 2-centimeter incision is made in the bellybutton, through which the entire uterus is removed in sections. Patients awaken to a shorter recovery time, less pain, and a lower risk of post-surgical complications.
Did you know…
that hysterectomy is the second most commonly performed operation among women of reproductive age? As the number of incisionless hysterectomies go up, the number of traditional inpatient procedures have been quickly going down. In fact, the rate of inpatient hysterectomies in the U.S. was just 3.3 women per 10,000 in 2008 compared with 4.6 per 10,000 in 2002.
Only your doctor can tell you if incision-less bellybutton hysterectomy is for you. However, you may qualify if you have an indication for hysterectomy and are interested in making a faster recovery. For more information about this procedure, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Incision-less hysterectomies are typically performed in a hospital while patients are under general anesthesia. You will be asleep for the procedure, during which time a small incision will be made into your abdomen through your bellybutton. Your surgeon will insert a scope that reveals the surgical site in great detail. The robotic system is controlled by your surgeon at all times. Your doctor will remove the uterus in sections and then stitch the incision site.
Recovery after minimally invasive hysterectomy is far less complicated than traditional surgical hysterectomies. Most women can go home the same day as their procedures, making a near-complete recovery in just days instead of weeks. Because the incision site is so small, there is very little risk of infection or other complications following the operation.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: 2011 Women’s Health Stats and Facts
Robotic surgery is changing the way gynecologic surgeons operate on patients around the world, and now this revolutionary technology is available to women too. This innovative technology is performed using a highly advanced machine that contains several robotic arms controlled by the surgeon. A few tiny incisions are made, through which the surgeon moves the robotic arms, including one that holds a camera. Surgeons are afforded enhanced visibility throughout the procedure, as well as robotic ‘arms’ that perform with smoother mobility and greater rotation than the human wrist and hand. The result is better accuracy, less bleeding during surgery, and minimal scarring for the patient.
Did you know…
that robotic surgery is rapidly becoming the standard for minimally invasive gynecological procedures? In fact, there have been more than 1.5 million robot-assisted surgeries worldwide in the past 10 years alone. And despite its name, robotic surgery is still 100 percent controlled by a patient’s physician – not a robot. Robotic surgery does not take the place of a surgeon – it makes a surgeon better.
Robotic surgery can be used as an alternative to open surgery or laparoscopic surgery to treat women with a number of conditions. In fact, robotic surgery is an effective alternative for a number of highly complex surgeries. You may be candidate for robotic surgery if you are facing an operation for uterine fibroids, endometriosis, heavy menstrual bleeding, gynecologic cancer, or pelvic prolapsed. Call our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.
Robotic gynecologic surgery is performed in a hospital or surgical center under general anesthesia. During the procedure, you will lie on a table beneath the robotic device. Nearby, your surgeon will be commanding every move of the robotic arms, through a few small abdominal incisions. A camera will be transmitting live three-dimensional imaging to your surgeon that can be magnified as needed. The robotic arms imitate the motions of your doctor’s hands, only with a greater precision you will be sent to recovery.
The experience women have after robotic surgery is far different than that of women who undergo open surgery. Robotic-assisted operations generally require less time in the hospital after surgery, not to mention a much shorter recovery period and lower risk of complications. However, there is always a risk of complications, so talk with your doctor about whether robotic gynecologic surgery is right for you.
Annual gynecological exams are preventative tools available to help women identify and treat complications that pose a threat to their health as early as possible. By getting annual exams, women can also learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle and adopt habits that facilitate long-term health. Exams for women often screen for sexually transmitted diseases and include the administration of vaccinations for common diseases like HPV, hepatitis, and the flu. As women age, annual exams may also include discussions about using hormone supplementation to manage the symptoms of, as well as the use of supplements to prevent osteoporosis.
Did you know…
that your annual gynecological exam is an excellent opportunity to discuss family planning with your doctor? Your gynecologist can offer fertility counseling, as well as education about ovulation and improving your chances of conception. If you are not yet ready to start a family or are finished having children, you can speak with your gynecologist about your options for birth control.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that you begin getting breast health exams at age 19 and annual pelvic exams with pap smears at age 21. Once your reach age 30, you will still need breast and pelvic exams each year but may space pap smears every two years so long as all previous pap smears have been normal.
Your annual exam will begin with an assessment of your weight and blood pressure, as well as a discussion of any symptoms or health changes you may have experienced since your last visit. Your gynecologist will palpate your breasts to check for lumps or unusual changes to breast tissue. The pelvic exam will also include a manual and visual examination of the cervix, uterus, and vagina. If you are getting a pap test, your doctor will swab your cervix to check for the presence of abnormal cells.
Your gynecologist will advise you on any changes you may need to make following your exam. For example, you may be advised to modify your diet, exercise habits or the types of supplements you should be taking each day.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 29 percent of women in the U.S give birth via caesarean section (c-section). C-sections are used to deliver a baby surgically, rather than through the birth canal. Most c-sections are reserved for emergencies or women who have either developed complications during pregnancy or are at high-risk for developing them during birth. Since few women plan to have their babies through c-section, it is important that all pregnant women educate themselves on the procedure – even those who have plans for a vaginal birth. For a positive birth experience, the American Pregnancy Association recommends having a flexible birth plan that makes room for a possible c-section birth.
Did you know…
that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of requiring a caesarean section birth? Though there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of surgical birth, you can lower your risk by finding ways of coping with pain aside from epidural analgesia. You are also less likely to have a c-section if you are medically able to avoid labor induction and labor at home until you are at least dilated to 3 centimeters.
Only your obstetrician can tell you if you will be having a c-section birth. However, many c-sections are performed as last minute decisions caused by critical complications, so it is impossible to know for sure if you will have a c-section unless your obstetrician schedules it ahead of time. Some reasons for c-sections include conditions like placenta previa, breech presentation, uterine rupture, fetal distress, preeclampsia, multiple births, and gestational diabetes. Your doctor may also wish to schedule a c-section if you had a previous caesarean birth, although many women are eligible for VBACs, or vaginal births after caesarean.
Before your child is delivered, your obstetrician will administer anesthetic to prevent you from feeling pain during the surgery. Unless you have an emergency c-section, you will likely be awake for your delivery, but feel no pain. Your doctor will make an incision through your abdominal wall, as well as your uterine wall either vertically or horizontally. Your baby will be delivered after the amniotic fluid has been suctioned from your uterus – usually within 5 to 15 minutes of beginning the c-section procedure. If you are awake, you will see your baby before he or she is placed in the care of a nurse. You’ll feel pressure as your doctor begins delivering the placenta and repairing your incisions.
You’ll spend more time in the hospital after a c-section to ensure you are making a healthy recovery. Within 24 hours, you will need to get up to walk to the bathroom. Before you are discharged, your staples may be removed. You will need to avoid heavy lifting and housework during the first few days and weeks following surgery and ensure that you are getting plenty of fluids. Over the course of six to eight weeks, you will experience a heavy flow of blood and fluids from your uterus. Contact your doctor immediately if you begin running a fever or notice signs of infection near your surgical wound. Finally, be sure to follow all post-partum guidelines given to you by your obstetrician, such as avoiding sex and baths until your incision has healed.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs and is diagnosed during pregnancy. The disease can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics and lifestyle habits. A woman with gestational diabetes does not produce enough of her own insulin during pregnancy, causing erratic blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes puts newborns at risk for respiratory complications, and it can also cause babies to be born at high birth weights.
Did you know…
that gestational diabetes was once believed to only affect 1 in 20 pregnancies? Unfortunately, as many as 1 in 5 pregnancies today result in gestational diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes in prior pregnancies have a 6 in 10 chance of developing the disease again. They also have a 1 in 2 chance of developing Type 2 diabetes within a decade of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Anyone is at risk for developing gestational diabetes, and screening at approximately 20 weeks gestation is standard for prenatal care. However, you are at an increased risk for gestational diabetes if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, have high blood pressure, or are over age 25.
You can most likely manage gestational diabetes with dietary modifications. However, your obstetrician may also recommend glucose testing and insulin injections for the duration of your pregnancy.
Yes. Although there is no way to ensure you will not get gestational diabetes, you may be able to lower your risk of developing the disease by maintaining a healthy weight prior to and during pregnancy. Eat a diet low in sugar and exercise moderately before and throughout your pregnancy according to your obstetrician’s recommendations.
Hysterectomies are routine gynecological procedures used to remove a woman’s uterus and sometimes her ovaries and fallopian tubes as well. When the uterus is removed, women are no longer capable of bearing children. They also stop menstruating and if the ovaries are removed, they will also enter menopause.
Did you know…
that by age 60, more than 30 percent of American women have had a hysterectomy? Although hysterectomy rates have declined slightly in recent years, they are still the second most common major surgery performed on women in their reproductive years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, surgeons and gynecologists perform more than 600,000 hysterectomies every year – that’s more than one every minute!
The decision to get a hysterectomy is one that you will need to make with your gynecologist. There are many reasons why gynecologists recommend hysterectomies for their patients. Some of the most common causes are uterine fibroids and uterine prolapsed, although endometriosis, reproductive cancer, and chronic pelvic pain can also warrant the need for a hysterectomy.
Hysterectomies are major surgery, but advancements in gynecological technology have made the procedure much less invasive. Your hysterectomy may be completed via an incision in your lower abdomen or in your vagina. It may also be assisted by a state-of-the-art robot that is used for greater precision and shorter recovery time.
Prior to the procedure, you may be given a vaginal douche and intravenous antibiotic to lower your risk of developing an infection during the surgery. You’ll be placed under general anesthesia for between one and two hours, eventually waking up with no memory of the procedure.
After hysterectomy surgery, your doctor will give you instructions for you recovery period. You’ll be encouraged to begin walking around within just hours of your operation, and you may need to stay in the hospital for supervision for several days. You’ll need to get plenty of rest and avoid lifting heavy objects or children for at least six weeks after your procedure.
Infertility is a condition diagnosed in men and women who cannot conceive a baby together after at least one year of frequent, unprotected sex. Infertility may affect only one partner or it could be a problem stemming from both. Infertility does not always mean that a couple will never have a baby together, but rather that they may need medical assistance in doing so. There are many treatments available to address infertility, many of which produce excellent success rates.
Did you know…
that infertility is very common in the United States? A staggering 10 to 15 percent of couples in America struggle with some form of infertility. But for those couples who seek infertility treatment, the National Institutes of Health report that as many as two out of three go on to have children together.
If you have been trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant for at least 12 months, you may need to be evaluated for infertility. Exceptions are made for women over the age of 35 who have been attempting to conceive for at least 6 months, as well as for women who have irregular periods and/or a history of two or more miscarriages.
Your infertility visit will seek to find the reasons for your inability to conceive. You and your partner will attend together, at which time your fertility doctor will ask you about your medical history and menstruation. You’ll also be asked personal questions about you and your partner’s intimate relationship, such as how frequently you have sex and how long you have been trying to conceive. Additional screenings and tests may also be ordered to determine your ability to conceive individually and as a couple.
There are treatments available to address many of the most common causes of infertility in both men and women. For example, men may experience increased fertility if they are treated for impotence or given hormones to improve sperm production. Women, on the other hand, have a host of infertility treatment options, including medications and hormone injections that encourage ovulation. Surgeries are also available to remove blockages in the fallopian tubes. More advanced methods of infertility treatment include the use of advanced reproductive technology, such as in-vitro fertilization.
Menopause is a natural part of life as normal as menstruation or having a baby. All women eventually enter menopause though some sooner than later. When menopause occurs, the body stops producing an egg each month during ovulation and menstruation halts. Aside from changes to menstrual cycles, women entering menopause may begin to experience side effects of hormonal changes, such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and thinning hair.
Did you know…
that the average age of onset for menopause is 51 for American women? However, menopause is most likely to occur at any time between the ages of 40 and 60.Some women even go through early menopause, which is menopause that occurs before the age of 40. In extremely rare cases, early menopause can occur as young as a woman’s teens or 20s.
Perimenopause is the period when menstruation and ovulation is erratic and menopausal symptoms are beginning to set in. Menopause is not said to have occurred until a year has passed since a woman last menstruated. You could be approaching menopause if you are experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause, although this isn’t likely to occur before age 40.
Your gynecologist will confirm that your symptoms are related to perimenopause or menopause, and he or she will explain the types of symptoms you can expect in the coming months and years. Your doctor may also speak to you about hormone replacement therapy, which can help you manage the hormonal changes that occur as your menstrual cycles stop.
If the symptoms of menopause are interacting with your day to day life, do not hesitate to speak with your gynecologist about the ways that you can treat or manage issues like sleep disruptions, anxiety, depression, or low energy.
The ovaries are small organs that help regulate the reproductive processes in women. Most women are born with two ovaries – one on each side of the uterus. As the ovaries mature during adolescence, they begin producing hormones and regulating menstruation. The ovaries frequently develop cysts, most of which are non-threatening. However, some women develop ovarian tumors, which may not always be as benign as simple cysts. Tumors require further examination and possible intervention.
Did you know?
There are many types of ovarian tumors. In some cases, these tumors can turn out to be ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer often produces few symptoms in its earliest stages. There are several factors that may contribute to the chances of getting ovarian cancer. Age and family history, as well as obesity and the use of fertility drugs, can all contribute to your chances of developing ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer screenings are not standard preventative care for women. However, you may wish to get screened for the BRCA gene, which has been shown to significantly increase the risk of developing breast, colorectal and ovarian cancer. You should also consider being screened for ovarian tumors if you are experiencing symptoms like chronic abdominal pain or bloating, significant weight gain, loss of appetite, nausea, lower back pain, or difficulty urinating.
Your gynecologist will probably ask you to come in for a pelvic exam, during which time he or she will palpate your abdomen to check for the presence of abnormal growths. In some cases, additional screenings may be ordered, such as an ultrasound or MRI. If a tumor is found, your doctor may remove it during a laparotomy and biopsy it for cancer. If cancer is detected, you may begin a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent new ones from growing.
Yes. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, you may wish to speak with you gynecologist about birth control. Women who take birth control are less likely to develop ovarian cancer later in life.
Many people dream of having families – usually in a specific time frame. Couples often prefer to plan the timing of their children’s births around work, finances, careers, education and life goals. Some want several children, where as others may want none. Regardless of how many children you want and when you want them, your gynecologist can be your partner in achieving your reproductive goals at every stage of life.
Did you know…
the average woman in America wants only two children? And in the U.S., the average woman chooses to have her first child between 25 and 26 years old? Of course, those are mere statistics and many women decide to begin having children in their early 20s, 30s, or even 40s. But regardless of when an average, healthy female decides to have her children, she’ll spend approximately 30 years using contraceptives or other methods of family planning in order to achieve her goals.
You can speak with a family planning doctor as young as 15 and all the way through your reproductive years. Regardless of whether you need help preventing pregnancy or planning it, your gynecologist can help you develop a realistic plan for achieving your goals.
Your family planning appointment will include a review of your medical history and a discussion of your reproductive goals, both short-term and long-term. You’ll probably have a physical exam, which may include a pelvic exam of your reproductive organs. Your doctor will ask about the details of your menstrual cycle and how frequently you have intercourse. Based on that information, he or she will make a recommendation for treatment if applicable.
There is a host of family planning resources available to women and couples who have specific reproductive goals. Examples include oral contraceptives, emergency contraception, fertility treatments, and permanent birth control.