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Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Procedures

At the University of Chicago Medicine, our board-certified experts have decades of experience performing minimally invasive surgeries for a range of gynecologic conditions. Minimally invasive approaches offer several benefits compared to traditional open surgery (with large incision), such as less pain, minimal to no scarring and a quicker return to daily activities. We perform the most advanced procedures, including the following:

Robotic Gynecologic Surgery

Our expert gynecologic surgeons use the da Vinci® Surgical System to perform very intricate and delicate surgeries through tiny incisions (less than half an inch). Specially designed robotic surgical instruments and a telescope are inserted through the incisions. The system gives the surgeon a magnified, three-dimensional view of the anatomy. From a console in the operating room, the surgeon controls the movements of the robotic arms, which allow for more precise surgical movements of less than 1/3 of a millimeter. This precision provides a minimally invasive approach for complex gynecologic conditions.

In the past, surgery for conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis typically required large incisions, lengthy hospital stays and long recoveries. However, with robotic procedures, patients typically stay only one night in the hospital, and are back to their normal lives within two weeks.

Our certified, expert surgeons have decades of experience in robotic techniques, and using this innovative technology, can provide the best procedure for each patient.

Procedures performed robotically include:

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Laparoscopic Gynecologic Surgery

Laparoscopy is a complex technique, and our surgeons have extensive skill and decades of experience to treat the most complex gynecologic conditions. Unlike traditional open surgery that requires a large incision, laparoscopic surgery is achieved through incisions that are less than half an inch long. Laparoscopy is performed by placing a laparoscope -- a thin, lighted telescope -- and other instruments through small incisions in the abdomen. Through these incisions, our surgeons can examine the abdominal and pelvic organs, and remove any abnormalities. Because incisions are small, patients typically heal very quickly and recovery time is minimal.

Conditions treated with laparoscopy include:

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Hysteroscopy

University of Chicago gynecologic surgeons are experts in hysteroscopy, a technique to look into and operate inside the uterus. Hysteroscopy provides a minimally invasive option to treat heavy or abnormal bleeding, fibroids, polyps and other uterine abnormalities with no incisions and minimal anesthesia.

A slender telescope, a hysteroscope, is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. The uterus is examined, and any abnormalities such as polyps, fibroids or scar tissue, can be removed using tiny instruments introduced through the hysteroscope. Hysteroscopy also can be performed with dilation and curettage (D & C) or endometrial ablation to treat heavy or irregular bleeding.

Because there are no incisions, hysteroscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure. Recovery is very rapid with most patients returning to their normal activities the next day.

Conditions treated with hysteroscopy include the following:

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Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Hysterectomy is used to treat fibroids, endometriosis, cancer, heavy periods or pelvic pain. The removal of the uterus can be combined with the removal of the cervix, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. Traditionally, a large incision in the abdomen was necessary; however at the University of Chicago Medicine, our skilled gynecologic surgeons can usually perform hysterectomy through tiny incisions in the abdomen (laparoscopic or robotic) or through the vagina.

Alternatives to Hysterectomy
At the University of Chicago Medicine, we are committed to individualizing treatment of fibroids, endometriosis, bleeding and pain, to ensure that each patient may consider every option in order to receive the best care.

These alternatives include:

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Myomectomy

Fibroids are common, non-cancerous uterine growths that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and an enlarged abdomen. Not all fibroids require hysterectomy to alleviate these symptoms. One alternative is to remove the fibroids while leaving the uterus in place, called myomectomy. » Learn more about myomectomy.

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Endometrial Ablation

Patients with heavy menstrual bleeding may be candidates for endometrial ablation -- a technique in which the uterine lining is treated with heat or sound waves, resulting in most women having lighter or an absence of menstrual bleeding. Endometrial ablation does not require incisions and is performed by inserting special thin instruments through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, without general anesthesia, and most women will return to their normal activities the next day.

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Radiofrequency Ablation (Acessa)

Acessa is an outpatient procedure that destroys living fibroid tissue using a thin radiofrequency needle. » Learn more about Acessa.

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Sterilization and Tubal Ligation

University of Chicago Medicine gynecologic specialists offer both surgical and nonsurgical options for female sterilization. During a tubal ligation (also known as “having your tubes tied”), the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. Tubal ligation is typically performed using laparoscopic techniques and requires general anesthesia. As an alternative, we can offer women the latest nonsurgical approach to sterilization, called Essure. Using a hysteroscope, our surgeons can plug a woman's fallopian tubes using small metal implants, preventing pregnancy from occurring. No incision or general anesthesia is necessary.

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