Let us first translate “laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy” from Latin. It still is a hysterectomy, and if you choose this, your uterus will be removed. There are then two major differences as compared to the usual, abdominal hysterectomy. The body of the uterus will be removed, but the cervix will remain in the body.
Laparoscopic means it is done with special surgical instruments, practicaly with no visible scars, and certainly with no incisions on the stomach.
Supracervical can be roughly translated as “above the cervix”, since only those parts of the uterus are cut away.
This procedure is available since 1996, and has spread in North America in the years after that. It requires a very well informed and trained gynecological surgeon, with all the new equipment available to him or her. This is one of the weaknesses of this method: the number and availability of such surgeons is too small for the needs, so it isn’t uncommon to find such surgeons over the Internet and fly over half of a contintent or over half a world just in order to get operated the proper way for your gynecological problems.
Who is the Candidate For Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy?
Practically anyone with a diseased uterus and helthy cervix. This may mean the usual suspects such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis etc. but it is important to be clear that the cervix is not in danger, in other words, that there is no cancer. Also, there should be no prolapse of uterus.
If the fibroids are large enough, you may not be eligible for the procedure, but the doctor may be able to put you on a GnRH agonist in order to shrink the fibroids temporarily. Lupron is usually given in such situations, although it has its share of problems for the patient, who will suddenly be slammed into a temporarily menopause.
The Consequences of Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
The patient wakes from general anesthesia and remains for one night in the hospital. In general, they go home the next day and usually get well enough within a week. There is not much pain at all, and many patients do not need any medication for pain. (There is no pain since there is no large incision which would require days and weeks to recover and grow up again.)
Since laparoscopy requires carbondioxide in order to make room for the instruments within the body, the remaining gas accumulates and produces pain. Often, it will be under the right diaphragm and will feel like right shoulder pain. The incisions may feel sore for a few days but that will pass too. You may be required to revisit the facility one week after the surgery, for surgeons to see your overall progress in recovery.
Economic Benefits of Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
Generally, all patients get back to their normal lives a week or two weeks at most after the surgery. Some even play tennis a month after such hysterectomy! This is very significant, because in laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy the recovery period is 28 days, not to mention the classical hysterectomy, with its usual recovery period of 28 days in the least, up to 42 days at the most.
Apart from the obvious benefit to the patients, this can cut the costs significantly, say from more than $9200 to a half, about more than $4300. With the number of hysterectomies performed every day all over the world, the savings just grow astronomically.
Medical Benefits of Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
This type of hysterectomy leaves the cervix in place, with the following significant benefits:
Only two weeks are needed for recovery.
|The intercourse can be resumed much sooner, sometimes weeks sooner than with other methods of hysterectomy.|
|The presence of cervix with its glands eliminates the most frequent problem after a hysterectomy: dryness of vagina.|
|The loss of blood with laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy is much less as compared to other types of hysterectomy.|
|The cervix remains there to support the pelvic floor, which in future should decrease the risk of vaginal prolapse.|
|There is an abundance of nerves through the cervix, which should enhance the sexual pleasure after the surgery.|
Problems and Risks with Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
If the cervix is there, it can be attacked. The main problem seems to be cervical cancer, although in reality 0.1% of women will have it. That is why annual Pap smears are strongly recommended.
In a small number of cases, the surgeon will have to convert the laparoscopy into a full hysterectomy during the surgery. There is nothing you can do about since you will be under anesthesia, but try to discuss the probability of such occasions beforehand. In particular, ask the surgeon about his conversion rates — about 1% or so is very good, anything larger is a cause for an alarm on your side.
Conclusion About Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
If you are a good candidate, ask your surgeon about it. He or she may not be in position to deliver this type of hysterectomy to you, so you may be forced to ask around or research the Internet further.
Or, as is the motto of this site, you can make your personal healing plan and thus avoid hysterectomy in the first place.