Absolutely. In the past, hysterectomies were only performed either by making a large incision in the abdomen, which required two or more nights in the hospital and a long recovery, or vaginally. Although vaginal surgery is minimally invasive because there are no cuts on the abdomen, it is essentially performed without viewing the inside of the abdomen. In some cases, these types of hysterectomy are still indicated.

The newest types of hysterectomies involve laparoscopy. A small camera is placed in the umbilicus and two or more other small holes are made so instruments can be inserted into the patient’s abdomen to perform the surgery. The surgeon can then view the entire abdomen, including the uterus, tubes, and ovaries. In many cases, if the ovaries look normal they don’t have to be removed at the type of hysterectomy.

Until recently, many patients weren’t candidates for minimally invasive hysterectomy because of previous surgeries and other reasons. The latest technology we are using is the daVinci Robotic Surgical System. This allows a surgeon to perform intricate movements that previously could only be accomplished with an open surgery. The surgeon still performs the surgery. The robotic system merely performs as the surgeon guides it. Today, many more patients are candidates for laparoscopic hysterectomy because of the daVinci robot.

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Schiavi is an OB/GYN at East Jefferson General Hospital. To make an appointment with Dr. Schiavi or another physician at EJGH, please call HealthFinder at 504-456-5000.