Alternatives to Hysterectomy
It’s no wonder that women seek alternatives to a traditional hysterectomy. A hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – is considered major surgery, especially when performed in the traditional, “open” manner that involves a single large incision across the abdomen. It also carries risks that includes infection, hemorrhage, and injury to the urinary tract or bowels.
Recent technology and medical advances, however, have provided women numerous safe and effective alternatives to hysterectomy. At Women’s HealthFirst in northwest suburban Chicago, our OB-GYN physicians are trained and experienced in specialized surgical and other treatments such as those mentioned below.
Procedures Performed Instead of a Hysterectomy
Depending on the condition being treated, as well as the severity of your symptoms, overall health, and other factors, your OB-GYN specialist may recommend endometrial ablation or a myomectomy (when your symptoms are caused by uterine fibroids) as alternatives to hysterectomy. Choosing one of these procedures may provide safe and effective symptom relief while helping you avoid the potential risks and complications of a hysterectomy.
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your OB-GYN provider to destroy tissue lining the uterus to help prevent heavy periods. Because the slender device used to do this enters the body through the vaginal canal, there are no incisions or stitches required. Also, endometrial ablation allows the uterus to remain in place. However, because the lining of the uterus is destroyed, this makes it difficult for a future egg, if fertilized, to implant in the uterus. For that reason, this procedure may not be recommended for women who wish to become pregnant in the future.
If your heavy bleeding or other symptoms are caused by the presence of uterine fibroids, your OB-GYN provider may recommend fibroid surgery, also called a myomectomy, instead of a hysterectomy. A myomectomy removes just the fibroids, leaving the uterus intact and preserving the potential for pregnancy. There are numerous ways to conduct a myomectomy and the size, number, and location of your fibroids will help determine which type of myomectomy is right for you.
Nontraditional Methods of Performing a Hysterectomy
Should you require a hysterectomy, you still have options as to how it’s performed. There are a variety of minimally invasive techniques and approaches that can help improve patient outcomes after a hysterectomy.
This minimally invasive method of performing a hysterectomy involves making a few small incisions – instead of one large incision across the abdomen. Specialized equipment allows organ removal through these incisions for a faster post-op recovery, and less pain and scarring afterward. For more information, visit our laparoscopy page.
A laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) allows for organ removal through the vaginal canal. Your surgeon uses a laparoscope, inserted via a small incision in the abdomen, to guide the procedure. This is one of the safest and least invasive methods possible to conduct a hysterectomy.
This procedure is conducted using only the smallest of incisions. In addition, your Women’s HealthFirst surgeon uses specialized robotic equipment that allows the greatest precision and control possible during a hysterectomy. For more information, visit our Robotic Hysterectomy page.
Need a Hysterectomy? You Have Options
There are safe and effective alternatives to a hysterectomy. Even if you’re decided upon a hysterectomy, there are different techniques that can improve your experience. Explore your hysterectomy options by consulting the OB-GYN experts at Women’s HealthFirst. Call us at (847) 808-8884 or request your appointment now. We have five locations near Chicago, Illinois, to serve you.