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Gynecologic Surgery

Norton Suburban Hospital receives center of excellence designation for minimally invasive gynecologic surgery

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With the many advances in gynecologic surgical methods and technology, women have more choices today than ever before. Norton Healthcare is committed to offering the latest advances in gynecologic surgery, as well as specially trained staff dedicated to helping women return to normal activities as soon as possible after surgery.

Dilation and curettage
Dilation and curettage (D & C) involves dilating or stretching the opening of the cervix to remove the uterine lining. The cervix is stretched by gently inserting tapered rods of different widths. Once the cervix is dilated, an instrument called a curette is inserted into the uterus to loosen and remove its lining. Sometimes a suction tube is used to get a sample of the uterine lining. Tissue samples are sent to a laboratory to be examined. 

D & C often is used to treat prolonged menstrual periods or bleeding between periods. It can be used to remove certain types of growths on the uterine lining. Occasionally, a D & C is necessary after a miscarriage to remove tissue that has not been completely expelled.

A hysteroscopy is a diagnostic procedure to examine the inside of the uterus. The doctor inserts a thin, telescope-like instrument through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus to help diagnose or treat abnormal uterine bleeding, a displaced IUD, infertility, repeated miscarriages, adhesions or abnormal growths.

Fibroid tumors
A hysteroscope is sometimes used with other instruments or techniques, such as laparoscopy and D & C. It also can be used to remove fibroid tumors in a procedure called hysteroscopic myomectomy. This is useful for women who want to remain fertile.

Endometrial ablation
One of the most common applications for hysteroscopy is to stop or curb abnormal bleeding by removing the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Known as endometrial ablation, this surgery is generally reserved for women who don’t respond to hormone therapy and do not wish to have children.

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure using a slender telescopic instrument to view the pelvic organs through the abdomen. During a laparoscopy, the feet are raised higher than the head to allow some of the abdominal organs to shift toward the chest and out of the way. The surgeon uses a special needle to insert carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide. This gas creates space by pushing the abdominal wall and bowel away from the reproductive organs, making it easier for the surgeon to see them.

Laparoscopy may be performed to determine the cause of abdominal pain in cases of suspected ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis and adhesions. It can be used to diagnose infertility caused by scar tissue or blocked fallopian tubes. It also can help diagnose and examine ovarian cysts and uterine tumors.

Laparoscopic sterilization is a common choice for women who do not want to have more children. In this operation, the doctor uses the laparoscope to seal the fallopian tubes from transporting an egg from the ovaries to the uterus.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and usually the cervix. Sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed as well.

Hysterectomy is usually necessary for treatment of the following conditions:

  • Unusual bleeding not controlled by other treatment
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Uterine fibroid tumors
  • Defects in the muscles and structures that support the pelvic organs (prolapse)
  • Cancer or conditions that may cause cancer

Hysterectomy can be performed through an incision in the abdomen, an incision in the vagina or laparoscopically with tiny incisions in the abdomen to assist in removing the organs through the vagina.

Most gynecologic operations are performed under general or local anesthesia. It is important that women discuss all anesthesia options available before undergoing a surgical procedure. Anesthesia is designed to bring about partial or complete loss of pain, to achieve adequate muscle relaxation during surgery and to calm fears and anxiety.

To find a physician or for more information about Norton Women’s Care midlife services, call (502) 629-1234.

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