What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines your uterus (the endometrium) also grows outside of the uterus. This tissue is called implants or lesions, and is often found in your pelvic area. In rare cases, it can grow in other parts of your body. Normally, the endometrium lining sheds each month during your period, but implants stay in place.
Endometriosis is often diagnosed between ages 25 to 35 but can occur anytime during a woman’s reproductive years, from menstruation through menopause. Endometriosis is common and family history plays a key role. A woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is six times more likely to have it.
Many women have no symptoms, but endometrial implants can cause irregular bleeding, infertility and pain. Mild to severe pain is the most common symptom, which may include pain during periods, sex, and bowel movements, and pain in the lower back or abdomen.
Depending on how severe your symptoms are, treatment may include lifestyle changes and medicine to control pain and endometriosis growth. If your symptoms get worse, your doctor may suggest surgery.
There are two common surgical options:
Endometriosis resection involves removing all visible implants while leaving the uterus and other organs in place. Endometriosis resection is usually recommended for women who want to get pregnant in the future. Endometriosis resection can be done using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy).
Hysterectomy involves removing the uterus and possibly other affected organs. It is recommended for women who are not planning a future pregnancy.
Both options can be performed using a da Vinci® robot allowing the surgeon to make a few small incisions – similar to traditional laparoscopy. The robot is designed to provide surgeons with enhanced capabilities, including high definition 3D vision and a magnified view. Your doctor controls the robot, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. The robot cannot act on its own. Surgery is performed entirely by the surgeon.
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
Compared with traditional open surgery, robotic surgery requires significantly smaller incisions. The potential benefits for Endometriosis Resection patients include:
Surgeons are able to complete difficult dissections to separate tissue
Low risk of complications
Minimal blood loss
Shorter hospital stay
Fast recovery time
Low rate of switching to open surgery
Talk to your doctor to decide if robotic surgery is right for you. As with any surgery, there are risks.
To be affiliated with the Midwest Institute of Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, surgeons must meet rigorous criteria and demonstrate excellent outcomes and high patient satisfaction.