A myomectomy is a fertility-sparing procedure, designed to surgically remove fibroids. When fibroids become large, they can distort the uterus, making it harder for women to conceive and carry to term. Early treatment is important in order to prevent further issues, and seeking the help of a specialist is essential.
Thorough removal of fibroids is possible for many patients. A myomectomy is not definitive treatment as fibroids can still return. The only definitive treatment is hysterectomy. A minimally invasive myomectomy relieves symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. With CIGC’s LAAM approach, laparoscopic myomectomy is performed using 2 small incisions. Women recover in less than 2 weeks and many are able to conceive naturally after surgery. In order to achieve a healthy pregnancy, women should wait at least 3 months after surgery before pursuing fertility options as it is essential for the uterus to be completely healed.
The Center for Innovative GYN Care advanced surgical specialists use only minimally invasive techniques for fibroid removal. A laparoscopic approach in GYN surgery, with smaller and fewer incisions, helps patients recover faster and become mobile sooner.
When you are limited in mobility for an extended period of time, more than two weeks, muscles begin to decondition, or detrain. Walking promotes the flow of oxygen throughout the body, and maintains normal breathing function. Gastrointestinal and urinary tract function are improved, and with improved blood flow, wounds heal faster. Every patient’s recovery is different and should be monitored by a physician, but gradual and measured increase in movement and activity can help prevent prolonged recovery times.
CIGC’s advanced LAAM technique for laparoscopic fibroid removal provides such amazing results, many women choose to travel from out of state for surgery. With LAAM, our patients are able to recover faster, with less pain, and get back to work in less than 2 weeks. For many of them, the only options back home are more invasive open or robotic surgeries.
Ruchika S. from Rhode Island, had a very large fibroid, which did not cause any symptoms except making her stomach look big. She knew it had to be taken out. Ruchika researched her options and made the decision to travel for LAAM surgery.
DISCOVERING THE FIBROID
“Except for my stomach getting really big, I didn’t have any symptoms of fibroids at all,” Ruchika said. “No pain, no excessive bleeding. I’ve always had a relatively flat stomach, and I just turned 38. I remember back in January last year, I was working out, and not eating very much, and yet my stomach was getting bigger. I travel out of the country a couple of times a month. I run the international business for a medical device company. The crazy lifestyle that goes with that I just assumed it was part of it. I thought ‘Well, I’m getting older.’ I was resigning myself to it. Everything else was fine, except my stomach.”
“I’ve never been very good about doing the annual check-up. I finally went to see a regular gynecologist for a check-up. She checked my stomach and said ‘Well, what do we have here?’ I said what?” and she said ‘You’re pregnant.’ I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant. I’ve had my period. ‘You’re four-to-five months pregnant.’ Obviously, I wasn’t pregnant, but she started doing tests and the ultrasound didn’t show anything. Then I had an MRI. The MRI showed that I had one gigantic fibroid. When I got my MRI results, I saw what it was and realized this needs to be taken out.”
SEARCHING FOR THE BEST FIBROID TREATMENT OPTION
Ruchika thoroughly researched options for fibroid removal. She learned embolization wasn’t possible due to the size, and most medical professionals recommended open surgery as the only option.
“During all of my research, I came across Dr. Paul MacKoul. I started doing more research on LAAM. Everyone in Rhode Island was saying I would have to have an open procedure. I was worried about my January schedule for travel and Dr. MacKoul was able to fit me in the week before Christmas. Timing wise it was great.”
The advanced LAAM technique was developed by CIGC founders Natalya Danilyants MD and Paul MacKoul MD to provide superior surgical results, and get women back on their feet faster. LAAM is only performed on patients who are able to retain fertility and has no limit for fibroid size, number, or location. CIGC surgeons use only two small incisions for this approach, and recovery is less than 2 weeks.
TRAVELING TO WASHINGTON DC FOR LAAM MYOMECTOMY
“Getting on a plane to go anywhere is not that a big deal for me at all. I live on the East Coast, my boyfriend lives on the West and my brother lives in New York, so regardless of where I had the surgery, they were going to have to travel to be with me. I was looking for the best surgeon. The one thing I have learned is that choosing the right surgeon matters.”
“I flew to DC, got the surgery done on Tuesday and was back in Rhode Island on Thursday. By Saturday I was fine to be on my own. I wasn’t up for going out and doing much for Christmas, but I really enjoyed being at home in my own space which I never get to do. I was off from work until New Year’s, and I had meetings in Europe and China the following week, so I was on a plane 2 and a half weeks after the surgery, and back at the gym. I don’t even think about it anymore. I have a flat stomach now!”
RECOVERY AFTER LAAM SURGERY
Ruchika’s fibroid was 1700 grams (close to 4 lbs). A normal uterus is 70 grams. Due to the size, most surgeons are only able to perform an open procedure, with 6-8 weeks recovery time. With LAAM, minimally invasive removal of a fibroid this size is possible.
“I was back to myself in a week and a half, and that was important to me. After two weeks I was back at work. Compared to the alternative, I’m so grateful. Everything is back to normal now. I’ve been working out. I went ice climbing two weekends ago, and I’m traveling for my normal insane life. Three weeks after the surgery I was running 7 to 8 kilometers.”
“Both my brother and boyfriend were able to take time off to be with me. Tuesday after the surgery I was a little out of it, but by Wednesday morning I was fine. Thursday evening, we all flew back to Rhode Island. I didn’t need any of the narcotics after the first day. I was on Advil the rest of the time.”
“Recovering at home was nice. My support system was there for me regardless of where I was. Not having to be in the hospital was nice. Having the surgery didn’t impact my work life at all. I took the last two weeks of the year off, and everyone else was taking vacation, so the timing was perfect for me. The whole experience was really good. ”
When it comes to a fibroid removal procedure, the surgical approach plays a great role in the patient’s recovery. The ability to perform thorough removal with smaller and fewer incisions leads to less complications and post-operative pain. Placement of incisions through the midline of the abdomen, bypassing the lateral abdominal muscles, allows for a safer surgery and a faster recovery.
CIGC surgeons developed the LAAM technique for myomectomy and the DualPortGYN approach for hysterectomy as definitive fibroid removal, to improve surgical outcomes. The use of the smallest incisions possible, including ultra-minilaparotomy, provides remarkable surgical results.
“Ultra-minilaparotomy is considered to be cosmetically superior as the incision is made along the natural cleavage of the skin folds. It is made in the midline and is very small, therefore, sparing the nerves and blood vessels on the lateral edges of the abdomen. It combines the best advantages of open and laparoscopic techniques.” said CIGC’s Rupen Baxi MD.
PATIENT TESTIMONIALS: RECOVERY AFTER ADVANCED FIBROID REMOVAL
CIGC patient and Maryland-based OBGYN, Dr. Valinda Nwadike, chose to undergo DualPortGYN hysterectomy as definitive fibroid treatment. Three days after her surgery, she was delivering babies.
“Dr. Natalya Danilyants advised me to take it easy for a week. The next day my son had a doctor’s appointment at 4PM and I felt well enough to sit with him in the waiting room, and then I went to dinner. Three days after the surgery, I was scheduled to work a 24 hour shift at the hospital, and delivered three babies. I was a little tired, but it didn’t slow me down. The next day, my husband and I drove to North Carolina. My husband drove, and I felt fine during the ride. I was told not to run for a couple of weeks, but I was fine doing boot camp a week later. I didn’t need any narcotics, I didn’t have any bleeding.” Dr. Nwadike said. Her full story is available here.
Lindsay (33) chose to travel from Dallas, TX for advanced laparoscopic myomectomy with the LAAM technique. She went through extensive research to find the option with the best possible outcome.
“My surgery was on a Thursday and I just flew in the day before. I didn’t know what to expect, I thought I was going to be in crazy pain at least for the weekend. But the next day, I woke up, and I felt great. We actually went site-seeing. That was amazing, the day after surgery I was up and moving. I used pain killers for about 3 nights. By the day I got back to Dallas, I was off painkillers. There wasn’t really pain, I just felt sore. It was completely different than I expected.” Lindsay said. You can read her story here.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS
A minimally invasive approach to fibroid removal is in the patient’s best interest. Many women residing outside the DC area choose to travel to CIGC for advanced GYN surgery as these procedures allow them to recover faster and to get back to their lives sooner. Patients recover in less than 2 weeks after LAAM myomectomy and within 1 week after DualPortGYN hysterectomy.
CIGC patient Tonya suffered for years from fibroids and adenomyosis, and her symptoms got progressively worse.
“One month, I was hemorrhaging, and then all of a sudden, the bleeding stopped but the pain didn’t. I remember being in the house, and I was very weak. I was very anemic. I walked across the street to a Starbucks, I thought I needed something to eat. As soon as I was in Starbucks, I had to sit down, because I was feeling really dizzy, and really shaky. I went next door to an urgent care and they had to put me into a wheelchair because I couldn’t stand any longer. After all of the tests, they determined I was dehydrated from losing so much blood.”
Many of our patients travel from out-of-town and from out-of-country for advanced minimally invasive GYN surgery at CIGC. Women who don’t have minimally invasive treatment options for their GYN condition closer to home can now benefit from CIGC’s groundbreaking techniques through our travel program. Innovative procedures like DualPortGYN and LAAM were developed by Paul MacKoul and Natalya Danilyants to improve surgical outcomes for patients and to help them recover faster.
GYN surgery for complex conditions like large fibroids and extensive endometriosis is now possible with only 2 small incisions and recovery in less than 2 weeks. Many times women are recommended open or robotic surgery and this is not longer necessary with advanced laparoscopic techniques.
We want to make traveling for GYN surgery from long distances as seamless as possible. Read about CIGC’s travel program and contact us online or at 888-SURGERY to book an appointment. CIGC has offices in Rockville, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston VA.
With up to 80% of women struggling with fibroid symptoms, many come to CIGC looking for a better fibroid removal surgery. When it comes to surgical treatment, many procedures are still performed unnecessarily as open, and untrained specialists recommend hysterectomy when it is unnecessary. It’s important for women to do their research and get to know their options so they can choose a safer, less invasive surgery.
“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 about her procedure with Dr. Paul J. MacKoul. You can read her full story here.
“I had heard and seen what other women had gone through for fibroid removal. Their recoveries were much longer. I really appreciated the small incisions. I compared what I experienced to other women when I got home, and they were amazed.” said Jenny, who traveled from Wisconsin to Maryland for her LAAM procedure with Natalya Danilyants MD. You can read her full story here.
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
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.