What You Need To Know About The Advantages Of A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Hysterectomies -- a big word that simply entails the wholesale removal of the uterus -- are one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States on women of reproductive age (coming in right behind the caesarian section), with over six hundred thousand done each year. But do you know anything about laparoscopic hysterectomies, or how this procedure affects your recovery time? If you're wondering about the advantages of a laparoscopic hysterectomy over an abdominal hysterectomy, then here's what you need to know.

What exactly is a laparoscopic hysterectomy?       

Laparoscopic hysterectomies are a minimally invasive surgery where the uterus is shown through a laparoscope (a sort of light) inserted into the abdomen to show the surgeon the pelvic organs. The uterus is then severed from the rest of the organs and pulled out through the vagina. It differs from an abdominal hysterectomy in that it avoids the large incision present in that procedure and is instead completed through a series of keyhole-sized incisions.

The other two types of hysterectomies -- abdominal and vaginal -- have similar ultimate goals but differ in procedures. The abdominal hysterectomy involves a large 'bikini-cut' incision that allows the surgeon to better see all of the organs in question, while the vaginal procedure is accomplished by a probe being inserted into the vagina to illuminate the organs, much like a vaginal ultrasound.

What are the advantages of a laparoscopic hysterectomy?

There are plenty of advantages the more technologically forward procedure that is the laparoscopic hysterectomy over the more prevalent abdominal hysterectomy. Because of its smaller incisions, it takes much less time to heal -- two weeks on the outside, versus the month and a half common with abdominal hysterectomies -- and less hospital time than other options. Less blood loss, less pain, and less scarring, and less infection are all advantages of this newer technology that enable you to be back on your feet and back to your daily activities as soon as possible.

What might stop someone from having a laparoscopic hysterectomy?

Unlike vaginal hysterectomies, having large fibroids or having had a previous caesarian section doesn't exclude you from having a laparoscopic hysterectomy. That being said, there are a few conditions to look out for. Laparoscopic hysterectomies are much more expensive than abdominal procedures and require a higher skill level, making it sometimes hard to find a surgeon qualified to perform the procedure. Also, make sure that the surgeon's rate of starting a laparoscopic hysterectomy and switching to an abdominal one -- their 'conversion rate' is low, preferably less than 5%.