When a woman faces a medical condition that affects her uterus, the hollow, muscular organ that holds and feeds a fertilized egg, the emotional impact can often be as challenging as the physical. These conditions include, but are not limited to, cervical and uterine cancers such as endometrial cancer, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, excessive bleeding and endometriosis.
Treatment options are as varied as the conditions themselves, depending on individual circumstances. A woman’s age, health history, surgical history and diagnosis (benign or cancerous), all factor into the recommended course of action.
Endometriosis and endometrial cancer
Endometriosis, also known as endometrial hyperplasia, is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, causing scarring, pain, and heavy bleeding. It can often damaging the fallopian tubes and ovaries in the process. A common organic cause of infertility, endometriosis can be treated with medications such as lupron for endometriosis that lowers hormone levels and decreases endometrial growths. While such medications often relieve associated symptoms, a patient should understand the potential side effects before pursuing this treatment regimen.
For endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer and more common among women after menopause, standard treatment options include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Three of these—radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hysterectomy—are also used to treat cervical cancer.
da Vinci endometriosis resection
Endometrial resection is a new procedure used to treat pelvic endometriosis. During the surgery, the da Vinci robot facilitates removal of multiple endometriomas through the articulation of a special laser fiber using a robotically-assisted arm. Removal of multiple endometriomas in one procedure is difficult to accomplish with laparoscopy (and could result in the need to perform a laparotomy). Find a surgeon >>
Uterine fibroids* are benign (non-cancerous) tumors occurring in at least one quarter of all women.1 They can grow underneath the uterine lining, inside the uterine wall, or outside the uterus.
Many women don’t feel any symptoms with uterine tumors or fibroids. But for others, these fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia), abnormal periods, uterine bleeding, pain, discomfort, frequent urination and infertility.2
Treatments include uterine fibroid embolization – which shrinks the tumor – and surgery. Surgical treatment for uterine tumors most often involves the surgeon removing the entire uterus, via hysterectomy.3
While hysterectomy is a proven way to resolve fibroids, it may not be the best surgical treatment for every woman. If, for example, you hope to later become pregnant, you may want to consider alternatives to hysterectomy like myomectomy. Myomectomy is a uterine-preserving procedure performed to remove uterine fibroids.
* Uterine fibroids are also called fibroids, uterine tumors, leiomyomata (singular – leiomyoma) and myomas or myomata (singular – myoma).
- Newbold RR, DiAugustine RP, Risinger JI, Everitt JI, Walmer DK, Parrott EC, Dixon D. Advances in uterine leiomyoma research: conference overview, summary, and future research recommendations. Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Oct;108 Suppl 5:769-73. Review.
- National Institutes of Health: Fast Facts about Uterine Fibroids. www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/fibroids/sub1.htm#where
- Becker ER, Spalding J, DuChane J, Horowitz IR. Inpatient surgical treatment patterns for patients with uterine fibroids in the United States, 1998-2002. J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 Oct;97(10):1336-42.
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci®Surgical System visit www.davincisurgery.com.