Minimally Invasive Obstetrics and Gynecologic Surgery
Ranked one of the top hospitals in the country for gynecological care, the University of Chicago Medicine has been using minimally invasive approaches to improve the lives of patients for decades. Many gynecological surgeries--for fibroids, infertility, and other problems--now require no incisions or only a few tiny cuts. The vast majority of these surgeries are outpatient procedures. You go home the same day, and you are back to your regular activities within a few days. Another major benefit: You suffer much less pain and discomfort than you would after traditional surgery, which requires a large incision.
Minimally invasive gynecological surgeries employ special surgical tools, including:
- Laparoscope: A thin, fiber-optic tube that has a tiny video camera on the end of it. The surgeon inserts the laparoscope through a small incision in the navel and guides it to the problem area. The surgeon then inserts tiny surgical instruments through other small incisions to perform the operation.
- Hysteroscope: A thin, telescopic tube used to see the inside of the uterus. No incisions are needed when a hysteroscope is used. The surgeon inserts the hysteroscope through the vagina and into the uterus. Small surgical instruments can be inserted through the hysteroscope to perform an operation.
When appropriate, our highly skilled physicians also use the Da Vinci Surgical System, enabling enhanced visualization, precision, and control for gynecologic surgery. This robotic system's "stereo" camera provides a magnified, three-dimensional view--allowing surgeons to accurately monitor depth and proximity to blood vessels.
Treatment for this common problem will depend on the cause, as well as a woman's age and her desires, including her plans for future pregnancies. Medication may help some women. Others find relief after uterine scraping (D&C) or when fibroids are removed. Another option for women who no longer wish to become pregnant is:
- Endometrial ablation, a hysteroscopic procedure that destroys the lining to the uterus so a woman no longer menstruates. This is frequently a very quick procedure, requiring only minimal anesthesia.
Our physicians are skilled in laparascopic approaches, which improve quality of life for patients who need to undergo cancer surgery:
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove tumors and--when necessary--lymph nodes.
- Laparoscopic uterosacral nerve ablation (LUNA), which involves cutting some of the nerves on the uterus that may be responsible for cancer pain.
We treat the pelvic pain and infertility caused by endometriosis with the following laparoscopic techniques:
- Laparoscopic ablation, which involves destroying the endometrial implants and removal of adhesions with the latest technology
- Removal of ovarian cysts
- To treat endometriosis, we also offer laparoscopic uterosacral nerve ablation (LUNA), which involves cutting some of the nerves on the uterus that may be responsible for pelvic pain.
When uterine fibroids cause pain, heavy bleeding, or infertility, surgery is frequently the best option. The following minimally invasive approaches offer alternatives to hysterectomy. The uterus is left intact, allowing a woman to become pregnant after the operation.
- Endoscopic myomectomy, which removes fibroids using a laparoscope
- Hysteroscopic resection, or the removal of fibroids using a hysteroscope. This procedure is an option for fibroids located inside the uterine cavity.
Another treatment for fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization. This procedure, which is performed by University of Chicago radiologists, blocks the blood supply to fibroids.
When a hysterectomy is the desired option, our surgeons can employ new minimally invasive approaches that promise much shorter recovery times and much less discomfort than traditional operations:
- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH), which involves removing the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes through the vagina
- Cervix-sparing hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes through a small incision
Surgery can significantly improve urinary incontinence that does not respond to more conservative therapies. Using laparoscopic surgical approaches, our surgeons can reposition or secure the bladder to prevent leaking of urine with coughing, exercise, or laughing. » Frequently asked questions about urinary incontinence
Our premier surgeons employ the latest laparoscopic and hysteroscopic techniques to diagnose and treat infertility, including endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes. We can also use minimally invasive techniques to reverse a past tubal ligation, which has left a woman unable to become pregnant.
The common problem of ovarian cysts can almost always be surgically treated using laparoscopic approaches without removing the ovary.
Our surgeons use laparoscopic approaches to diagnose and treat the various causes of pelvic pain.
- Minimally invasive surgery to remove pelvic adhesions and other abnormal tissue, such as endometriosis
- Laparoscopic uterosacral nerve ablation (LUNA), which involves cutting some of the nerves on the uterus that may be responsible for pelvic pain
In addition to tubal ligation, our world-class surgeons can offer women the latest non-surgical approach to sterilization. Using a hysteroscope, our surgeons can plug a woman's fallopian tubes using small metal implants, preventing pregnancy from occurring. No incision or anesthesia is necessary.