Laparoscopy is a modern technique in which an operation in the abdomen is performed through a few small incisions -- usually 0.5-1.5 cm -- as compared to larger incisions needed in traditional surgical procedures.
The key element in laparoscopic surgery is the use of a laparoscope, a medical instrument that gives Dr. Cotter an exceptionally clear view of the inside of the abdominal cavity. It consists of miniature camera attached to the end of a slender telescopic instrument, typically inserted through the navel for a hysterectomy. The camera then projects the internal images onto a screen, providing a close-up view of the female reproductive organs.
A laparoscopic procedure is performed using three small incisions that are strategically located in the abdomen. Once the incisions are created, Dr. Cotter will insert a small camera and other instruments that she can use to effectively complete the procedure. Small robotic arms can be used to perform extremely precise movements that are needed for certain procedures.
Once the procedure is complete, Dr. Cotter gently removes the instruments and the camera, and places butterfly bandages over the small incisions. She will provide you with a detailed list of instructions that you are to follow when you return home. Your recovery time will be relatively short and, if you follow Dr. Cotter's instructions, will be able to resume your daily activities in a week or so.
Dr. Cotter performs laparoscopic hysterectomies -- surgical removal of the uterus -- by making a few tiny incisions in the abdomen where surgical instruments and a laparoscope are inserted. Traditional procedures are either done through a large incision in the abdominal wall or an incision at the top of the vagina. These procedures are called abdominal hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy, respectively.
The laparoscopic approach is a more minimally invasive type of hysterectomy compared to an open procedure. During the procedure, Dr. Cotter detaches the uterus using laparoscopic surgical instruments and removed either through an incision in the navel or the top of the vagina.
Minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopies don't use a large incision and highly specific in terms of the general area that is affected during the procedure. A few of the main benefits include:
A myomectomy is the removal of uterine fibroids. It is done laparoscopically, hysteroscopically, or if indicated as an open procedure, dependent on the individual situation. While fibroids may be present for many years without causing any pain or discomfort, they can hinder your ability to become pregnant. If the fibroids begin to grow larger than normal, they may eventually cause problems with your menstrual cycle.
Dr. Cotter can detect the presence of fibroids when she performs your yearly pelvic examination. If you're having problems conceiving or are experiencing heavier than normal bleeding and cramping during your periods, she may recommend a myomectomy to remove any fibroids that are present.
Cysts, for the most part, are generally harmless. Cysts often resolve when they are cysts related to ovulation. Many cysts form and then disappear before they are even detected. The majority of cysts remain small and rarely grow large enough to be noticed. Other cysts fall into the tumor family, both benign, or less commonly, malignant. When the cyst is large or heavy it twists, which can strangulate the blood supply and cause an emergent situation to surgically correct before the ovary dies from loss of its blood supply.
Dr. Cotter can use laparoscopic procedures to remove the cysts allowing the ovaries to begin functioning more efficiently. Using a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure to remove cysts and other abnormalities eliminates the need for extensive surgical procedures that would require weeks of recovery; you can return to your normal activities within a few days following the treatment.
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