If your reproductive system has a benign condition, your quality of life may be affected. A benign condition is defined as a growth, tumor, or other condition that is not cancerous. Common benign gynecologic conditions include endometriosis, fibroids (benign tumors), and pelvic support problems. Symptoms that accompany these conditions can include abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, or painful intercourse.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may want to wait to see how they progress. Medical options such as medications are also available. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove your uterus and possibly your ovaries and fallopian tubes as well.
A hysterectomy can be performed through two methods: open surgery, which involves a large incision in your abdomen, or a minimally invasive approach, which uses smaller incisions with a greater chance of blending in and remaining unnoticeable. In open surgery, the surgeon can see the surgical site directly. The uterus is removed through the incision using hand-held tools.
When a minimally invasive approach is possible, there are three types to choose from: vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy, or robotic-assisted surgery, possibly using da Vinci® technology. In a vaginal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through an incision in your vagina. Laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgeries involve the use of a laparoscope, a tiny camera inserted into the surgical site through a small incision. For a laparoscopic hysterectomy, only a single small incision near the belly button can be required. Your surgeon will use special long-handled tools while referring to the video feed from the camera as a guide.
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