Many CIGC patients struggling to conceive have found that GYN surgery for conditions like fibroids or endometriosis can often clear the path to motherhood. Fibroids affect up to 80% of women and they can interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive and carry to term. Endometriosis affects more than 5 million women in the U.S. and it is the leading cause of female infertility. Fertility investments can be expensive and it is important to diagnose and treat GYN conditions early in order to prevent future damage.
Azundai, LAAM patient at CIGC, had been diagnosed with fibroids back in 2012, but was advised to watch and wait. It’s important to note this is an outdated approach and it is not effective as fibroids can grow and cause problems if left untreated. Azundai waited for three and a half years and then in 2015, decided to begin her search for the best fibroid surgery.
Having confidence in the GYN specialist who will perform your fibroid removal procedure is a very important part of your care. You need to be able to trust that your doctor will address your concerns and that the outcome of the surgery will be the best possible one. While many doctors specialize in OB/GYN care, they are not fully trained on minimally invasive GYN surgery for complex conditions. Getting a second opinion can be essential.
RESEARCHING YOUR OPTIONS FOR FIBROID TREATMENT
Azundai researched her options online, trying to find the right approach for her. There are new techniques to treat fibroids that are non-invasive, but they can affect fertility, and fibroids can continue to grow if they are not removed.
“The more I read online, the more scared I got. I read that fibroids could be treated with ultrasound, but that doesn’t cure them. I was shot down by one doctor because I had more than 4 fibroids. I thought about hormone therapy. Confused and frustrated, I cried out and prayed earnestly to God for the right answer to my healing. Putting my fear aside, I decided to keep faith and hope for a successful surgical approach and outcome. I finally started looking at surgeons and found one doctor that specialized in myomectomies, but they were open procedures.I thought about going to Chicago to get radiofrequency ablation, but above all of my requirements I wanted to maintain my fertility. I didn’t want to have a hysterectomy. I wanted to be able to have a chance to be the mom I know I can be.” Azundai said.
“I was already scheduled for the open myomectomy. My new boss introduced me to another of my colleagues who had just had a myomectomy. Once I talked to this colleague, she told me about The Center for Innovative GYN Care, and Dr. Paul J. MacKoul and Dr. Natalya E. Danilyants, and she gave me the website. I found that the CIGC website’s information answered my questions and eased my fear of having surgery, which was something I never had to have in my 32 years of life.”
Azundai came to us and was scheduled to have a minimally invasive LAAM myomectomy. LAAM takes the best elements of both laparoscopic and open approaches for myomectomy, using only two small incisions. Fibroids of any size, number, or location can be removed with this approach and the recovery time is less than 2 weeks.
“No large incision! I have to look for it. I was back to work in 2 weeks. I had 17 fibroids removed. Three of them were really big. I felt excavated, all of the junk removed. It feels so liberating to have them all out.” said Azundai after her surgery.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT WITH FIBROID SPECIALISTS OF CIGC
CIGC patient Michelle had been struggling with rectal bleeding with her cycle before coming to see us. Her symptoms were getting progressively worse for nearly 3 years. She saw a general practitioner, a gastroenterologist and an OB/GYN and none of them was able to recognize the signs of endometriosis. They dismissed her symptoms and could not provide treatment. Michelle was in great pain, feeling hopeless and desperate.
It is estimated that as many as 500,000 hysterectomies will be performed in 2016. Sadly many of them will be executed with unnecessary invasive, higher risk surgical approach: invasive open hysterectomy, blind vaginal hysterectomy, or robotic hysterectomy. It is important that women look into all treatment options and know the risks associated with each procedure.
Open GYN surgery means a large incision and up to 8 weeks recovery time. Open procedures have higher risk of infection and have a higher chance of pelvic adhesions forming due to scarring. There are safer, less invasive procedures for almost all patients and any size uterus, resulting in much faster recovery and less post-operative pain.
Vaginal GYN surgery is a blind procedure. Since there is no line of sight within the pelvis, this approach can cause injuries to surrounding structures. It is also very limited in what can be treated (moderate to large uteri can be difficult to remove). The blind approach also accounts for the inability to see and treat other pelvic problems or to assess for bleeding or complications after surgery.
Robotic GYN surgery is performed with a surgeon sitting at a control panel, away from the patient. The robotic approach has an increased size and number of incisions vs other laparoscopic procedures and accounts for increased complication rates, more pain and longer recovery. The cost of robotic GYN surgery is significantly higher cost, as compared to conventional laparoscopy.
A recent article published in the Journal of Gynecologic Surgery on November 2015 reports that over a 10-year period, a total of 455 injuries and 177 malfunctions from robotic GYN surgery have been reported. The most common gynecologic procedure, hysterectomy, has lead to both injuries and death.
When you are ready to discuss minimally invasive GYN surgery with a trained laparoscopic surgeon, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. Don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion if you were recommended open or robotic surgery. There are better, less invasive options to consider.
You know how important your GYN health is. When struggling with GYN conditions and looking for the best treatment, it’s important to find the right specialist that you can fully trust. Women have access to so many great resources now, starting with recommendations from family and friends, to online sources like doctor review sites, to social media and insurance websites.
Once you have scheduled your first consult, don’t hesitate to ask questions and fully express your concerns. If you are not happy with the information you were provided or the approach that was explained to you, don’t be afraid to walk away and get a second opinion. It is important that you are comfortable with your doctor and trust him or her completely.
If you are suffering from symptoms like abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain, consider getting an evaluation with CIGC’s surgical specialists: Dr. Paul J. MacKoul and Dr. Natalya E. Danilyants. Advances in GYN surgery now allow for safe & efficient procedures to be performed in outpatient settings with minimally invasive approach, and excellent surgical outcomes.
Former CIGC patient Sherri C, now living in New York, was struggling with a large fibroid 10 years ago and was looking for minimally invasive treatment options in Maryland. She chose to have a myomectomy procedure for her fibroid removal, to preserve fertility. As fibroids often return after a myomectomy, Sheri struggled with fibroids again 10 years later, when she was living in New York. NY came up short with minimally invasive options for her surgery and Sherri decided to travel back to Maryland for LAAM myomectomy with Paul MacKoul MD. Read Sherri’s story on CIGC’s blog: Traveling For Fibroid Surgery With Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD
2015 has been a remarkable year for The Center for Innovative GYN Care. Many of our patients have shared their experience dealing with complex GYN conditions and finding relief after minimally invasive GYN surgery. As we look back, we are amazed by how many lives have changed for the better and we are so grateful for their continued support in helping others find us. Thank you to all of our patients!
At a routine checkup, Heidi was given the diagnosis of potentially cancerous fibroids. She was frightened as she was recommended a complete hysterectomy with robotic surgery, using power morcellation. Heidi decided to seek a second opinion and could not believe she found something so drastically better at CIGC. Read Heidi’s story.
For several years, Ljubica and her husband had tried fertility treatments unsuccessfully and after 3 failed attempts, they were starting to get discouraged. It turned out she required surgery to remove a fibroid and uterine polyp before beginning IVF. Ljubica had a LAAM procedure for her fibroid and a subsequent polyp removal. She got pregnant naturally shortly after the procedure. Read Ljubica’s story
Rashetta found out she had fibroids in college. For years, she saw the same doctor who advised to wait and watch, only her pain got progressively worse. The fibroids continued to grow and she actually had a date scheduled to have a hysterectomy, which she cancelled. Rashetta met with Dr. Paul MacKoul and ended up getting the LAAM procedure. Read more of Rashetta’s story in this Blog and in The Baltimore Times
Patients travel from all around the country for CIGC’s advanced minimally invasive procedures. So many women have complex GYN conditions that require a specialist, but very few can perform minimally invasive surgery. Read some of our travel patient stories from women who have traveled for surgery with Paul MacKoul MD and Natalya Danilyants MD:
Power morcellators break down, or “morcellate,” the uterus and fibroids into smaller pieces to allow removal through laparoscopic ports. As the uterus or a fibroid within the uterus may contain a cancer known as a sarcoma, if a sarcoma is present, this approach can potentially spread cancer cells in the pelvic cavity. In July 2015 the FDA held an important meeting to discuss the risks of using power morcellators in GYN surgery and currently discourages their use to remove uterine fibroids and uteri. The truth is, with advanced surgical techniques, power morcellators are not necessary.
Regardless of how early it is caught, the diagnosis “endometrial cancer” is scary. Christine from Altoona PA was diagnosed earlier this year and she knew she needed a hysterectomy. Her regular practice only gave her the option to have an invasive open surgery, with 6 weeks recovery time, which she did not want. Christine had concerns. She felt she was not getting answers to her questions and was not involved in the decision process regarding her GYN procedure.
Christine started to research other options and found out that a minimally invasive procedure was possible at CIGC with DualPortGYN hysterectomy using only two 5mm incisions. The recovery time for this procedure is only 10 days.
At CIGC we partner with reproductive endocrinologists to ensure patients have the best possible care from surgery to fertility treatments. Some women are actually able to conceive naturally after minimally invasive infertility surgery at CIGC.
Endometriosis can affect fertility in multiple ways. The body responds to endometriosis by releasing excess inflammatory cells, which can cause pain, or create pelvic adhesions preventing conception. The inflammatory cells can potentially affect sperm function or impair the function of the fallopian tubes. The surgical management of endometriosis can be difficult and complex. Learn about endometriosis treatment to improve fertility.
INFERTILITY & HYDROSALPINX
The inflammation of the fallopian tubes is known as hydrosalpinx, a condition where fluid swells the tubes, making it difficult for women to get pregnant. There are multiple causes of inflammation like pelvic infections or fibroids obstructing the tubes or prior surgery causing scarring to the tubes. If the tubes are blocked most fertility doctors recommend IVF to bypass them. Learn more about the function of the fallopian tubes.
At The Center for Innovative GYN Care, our advanced laparoscopic techniques are designed to provide safe and efficient minimally invasive treatment, with recovery in days rather than weeks. To get an evaluation with a CIGC specialist Dr. Paul MacKoul MD or Dr. Natalya Danilyants MD, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. CIGC has offices in Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA. Patients who reside outside the area travel to Washington DC for minimally invasive GYN surgery through our travel program.