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When a woman faces a medical condition that affects her uterus, the hollow, muscular organ that holds and feeds a fertilized egg, the emotional impact can often be as challenging as the physical. These conditions include, but are not limited to, cervical and uterine cancers such as endometrial cancer, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, excessive bleeding and endometriosis. Treatment options are as varied as the conditions themselves, depending on individual circumstances. A woman's age, health history, surgical history and diagnosis (benign or cancerous), all factor into the recommended course of action.
Endometriosis, also known as endometrial hyperplasia, is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, causing scarring, pain, and heavy bleeding. It can often damaging the fallopian tubes and ovaries in the process. A common organic cause of infertility, endometriosis can be treated with medications such as lupron for endometriosis that lowers hormone levels and decreases endometrial growths. While such medications often relieve associated symptoms, a patient should understand the potential side effects before pursuing this treatment regimen.
For endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer and more common among women after menopause, standard treatment options include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Three of these - radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hysterectomy - are also used to treat cervical cancer.
For benign (non-cancerous) conditions like menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), non-surgical treatments like hormone therapy or minimally invasive ablative therapies may offer relief. For fibroids,
uterine-preserving da Vinci myomectomy
- a surgical alternative to hysterectomy -- may be an option.
Uterine fibroids* are benign (non-cancerous) tumors occurring in at least one quarter of all women.
They can grow underneath the uterine lining, inside the uterine wall, or outside the uterus. Many women don't feel any symptoms with uterine tumors or fibroids. But for others, these fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia), abnormal periods, uterine bleeding, pain, discomfort, frequent urination and infertility
A new category of minimally invasive myomectomy, da Vinci
Myomectomy, combines the best of open and laparoscopic surgery. With the assistance of the da Vinci Surgical System - the latest evolution in robotics technology - surgeons may remove uterine fibroids through small incisions with unmatched precision and control.
Uterine and vaginal vault prolapse are occur when the connective tissues or muscles within the body cavity are weak and unable to hold the pelvis in its natural orientation. The weakening of connective tissues accelerates with age, after child birth, with weight gain and strenuous physical labor. Women experiencing pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence, vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and/or having a bowel movement.
Sacrocolpopexy is a procedure to surgically correct vaginal vault prolapse where mesh is used to hold the vagina in the correct anatomical position. This procedure can also be performed following a hysterectomy to treat uterine prolapse to provide long-term support of the vagina. Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as an open surgery. A 15-30 cm horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen in order to manually access the inter-abdominal organs, including the uterus.
If your doctor recommends sacrocolpopexy, you may be a candidate for a new surgical procedure called
Sacrocolpopexy. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon perform a minimally invasive surgery through small incisions.
For most women, da Vinci
Sacrocolpopexy offers numerous potential benefits over a traditional open approach:
For most uterine conditions, if available non-surgical treatments fail to relieve symptoms, many women choose a more certain result with elective hysterectomy. Each year in the U.S. alone, doctors perform about 600,000 hysterectomies, making it the second most common surgical procedure.
While symptoms such as chronic pain and bleeding often point a woman and her doctor toward hysterectomy as the preferred treatment choice, life-threatening conditions such as cancer or uncontrollable bleeding in the uterus often necessitate a hysterectomy and follow-up treatment.
While hysterectomy is relatively safe, always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits, to determine which approach is right for you. And if hysterectomy is recommended or required, you owe it to yourself to
learn more about da Vinci Hysterectomy
, a robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgery that for many women has potential as the safest and most effective treatment available.
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci
System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the
Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
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