Each year, women across Vermont and New Hampshire require hysterectomies for various reasons that are unique to them. For some who have challenging physical conditions, a new surgical technique called the total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH) procedure provides a minimally-invasive option to open surgery.
Springfield Hospital is the first to bring this new surgical procedure to southern Vermont and it is changing outcomes for many women. The TLH is helping women experience faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays, less pain, and less scarring.
Women who suffer gynecologic symptoms including cancer or pre-cancer conditions, fibroids, heavy bleeding, or pelvic pain or pressure can now consider the laparoscopic hysterectomy technique as a safe and viable option to overcome physical conditions that previously necessitated abdominal hysterectomies. The new procedure eliminates the need for a large abdominal incision, reduces pain, requires less medication, and allows women to leave the hospital sooner to return home to familiar surroundings.
"We've been performing laparoscopic surgery at Springfield Hospital for quite some time," reports Simon Solano, MD. "The term laparoscopy is used to describe a minimally-invasive means of access," he continues. "What is new and different about the TLH is the evolution of the harmonic scalpel and our ability, through the use of this modern technology, to facilitate more efficient hysterectomy procedures through advanced techniques."
"Use of the harmonic scalpel, its energy, and optimal temperature features, allows surgeons to operate with increased accuracy, efficiency, and minimal bleeding," explains Dr. Solano. He continues, "We are one of only a few hospitals in the State of Vermont offering this surgery technique and we are pleased to make this option available to women."
During the TLH procedure, special tools are inserted through three dime-sized incisions in the navel and abdominal area. This allows the uterus to be carefully removed in a minimally-invasive manner with no large abdominal incision needed.
A 24-hour hospital stay is required so vital signs and post-operative conditions can be monitored and patients can get the rest they need for a good recovery. Outcomes are positive with patients in most cases functioning quite well around home within three to four days, driving within one week, and nearly back to normal within one to two weeks.
"Patients want relief from their pain," reports Dr. Solano. "For some patients, other forms of treatment may still be the best option. However, for those women whose conditions require a total hysterectomy, and whose only option up to now was the total abdominal hysterectomy technique, the harmonic scalpel technology gives us the ability to relieve their pain with minimally-invasive surgery, less scarring, and faster recovery. For those women, the TLH is a proven technique that offers consistently good outcomes."
Simon Solano, MD provides obstetrics and gynecology services at 362 River Street, Suite 20, Springfield, VT. For more information or to schedule an appointment, Dr. Solano can be reached at 802-886-3556.