Battling Fibroids – Part 3 – Surgery

For many women who have tried managing with painkillers or other medications that promised to shrink their fibroids or reduce bleeding and pain, another option may be surgery.

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Types of fibroids and their locations can determine the surgical procedure you choose.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have had surgery to remove fibroids a few years ago. I had five large ones. The biggest was the size of a cantaloupe melon, the others were the size of grapefruits or oranges.

Surgical removal of fibroids is referred to as a myomectomy; the piecemeal removal of fibroids.  Myomectomy procedures allow a woman not only to preserve her chances of pregnancy, but also to avoid a hysterectomy.  The type of procedure you choose will determine the type of incision (s) a doctor will make.

Abdominal myomectomy is one where the abdomen is opened using an incision horizontally across the bikini line. With this procedure fibroids that are deep can be removed in a manner like taking out seeds from an avocado. However don’t think it’s as simple as that because depending on how it is growing in and around the uterus the doctor must be very careful to avoid any serious complications.  If the fibroid is too large (typically when larger than a 5 month pregnancy) the doctor may opt to cut vertically from just below the belly button straight down towards the pelvic bone. This is not as desired aesthetically and also leaves the womb more scarred, but may be necessary depending on your size and location of fibroids. [CLICK HERE to read more detail about this procedure]

Laparoscopy involves a few 1-2 cm incisions that can be both above and below the belly button area as seen in the diagram below. This is often used as a diagnostic process, but it also is used to remove fibroids when doing a Laparoscopic myomectomy.

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Comparison of incision depending on the type of surgical procedure chosen.

The procedure I had done is called a Laparoscopic Robotic Myomectomy.  This is a minimally invasive surgery where they make small incisions to perform the surgery. The surgeon works with a Robotic machine and assists its motion using foot pedals and joystick type controls to maneuver the arms. There is also a 3D camera on the arms giving the doctor an accurate view inside the uterus.  The great thing about this procedure is that it allows for better dexterity where a doctor’s hand could be more shaky or challenged getting to delicate areas. [CLICK HERE to read more detail about prodecureCLICK HERE to read more detail about prodecure]

This procedure preserves a woman’s fertility and has a shorter recovery time.  My recovery was supposed to be a few days, but I ended up in the hospital over a week and had about two weeks recovery because of an infection in my incisions and I had lost the feeling in one leg. As with any surgery there are risks of complications so take that into consideration before making your decision.

A hysteroscopic myomectomy removes fibroids by going through the vagina and cervix. This is a good option when fibroids are smaller and growing inside the uterus. [CLICK HERE to learn more about this procedure]

Woman Suffering From Stomachache At Home
Young woman suffering from pain. (Bigstock image)

A procedure that is not so commonly used is the Myolysis and Cryomyolysis. This is where the heating (electrocoagulation) and freezing (injecting liquid nitrogen) of fibroids is done with probes inserted using laparoscopic tools.  The heating or freezing of the fibroids is supposed to cause the gradual decay of the tissues in the fibroid. This is highly controversial and not approved everywhere. It is also not a recommended option if you want to still have children.  [CLICK HERE to read more about this procedure]

Symptoms such as pressure and heavy bleeding are eliminated or reduced after the fibroids are removed. Do keep in mind that once removed this may only provide temporary relief because some women (like myself) find they have fibroids growing back in a few years.

It’s important to keep reading about treatment options and looking at things like your eating habits and how this can impact rapid or slow growth of your fibroids.

I will post soon about another procedure know as UAE as an option for treating your fibroids.

 

Sources: ‘You Don’t Need a Hysterectomy’, Ivan K. StrUsz M.D., http://www.uterine-fibroids.org, British Fibroid Trust.org.uk,

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