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What Women's Health Problems Respond Well to Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is a treatment option that many women overlook when it comes to managing their health issues. Whether you’re suffering from endometriosis, uterine fibroids, urinary incontinence, or ovarian cysts, minimally invasive surgery could be the quick-recovery and low-risk option you need.

Here at Adventist Health in Napa, St. Helena, and Hidden Valley Lake, California, Dr. John Kirk and the team are proud to offer laparoscopic and robotic-assisted forms of minimally-invasive treatment. Read on to learn which procedures respond best to minimally invasive surgery. 

Ovarian cysts 

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that occur on your ovaries. Although they’re incredibly common, many women don’t experience any symptoms or complications from having them.

However, if you experience pressure, bloating, or pelvic pain on one side, you may have an enlarged cyst that needs attention. Other women have many small cysts causing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which can reduce fertility and cause other hormonal problems. 

If you have a cyst that needs immediate attention because it’s growing and causing pain, Dr. Kirk may remove the cyst (ovarian cystectomy) or remove the affected ovary (oophorectomy). Both of these procedures can be performed with minimally invasive techniques so you can reduce your recovery time. 

Endometriosis 

Endometriosis refers to a painful condition where your uterine lining grows outside of your uterus. It most often causes heavy bleeding and severe pain during your menstrual periods when this excess lining sheds from outside your uterus. 

Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Kirk may recommend hormone therapy to slow the growth of this tissue and prevent it from shedding. While some medications can help you reduce your endometriosis symptoms, surgery is usually considered the best option if you have severe pain or if you’re trying to become pregnant. 

Fortunately, Dr. Kirk usually performs this surgery with minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, ensuring the least disruption to healthy uterine tissue while removing unhealthy endometrial tissue. Studies have shown that this type of minimally invasive surgery improves the quality of life, sexual function, and pregnancy rates in women with endometriosis. 

Uterine fibroids 

Uterine fibroids are small, noncancerous growths that often grow outside, on, or within your uterine walls. While they don’t always cause symptoms, when they do, it’s typically in the form of heavy periods, pelvic pain, frequent urination, and constipation.

If your fibroids are large or disruptive, Dr. Kirk often recommends medication to try and shrink the fibroids first. However, if they need surgical removal, Dr. Kirk is an expert in minimally invasive robotic-assisted myomectomy. As one of the first practices in the country to offer this procedure in 2004, Dr. Kirk can ensure your fibroids are removed safely with minimal recovery time. 

Urinary incontinence

If you notice a little bit of urine escaping when you cough or sneeze or have frequent urges to urinate, you may have urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is incredibly common and affects around 3-17% of women. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments available, including effective minimally invasive procedures. 

If your urinary incontinence is mild, Dr. Kirk may recommend medicine, nerve stimulation, creams, or pelvic floor therapy. However, if your bladder doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatments, Dr. Kirk recommends exploring minimally invasive surgical options.

Depending on the exact cause of your incontinence, Dr. Kirk may recommend a suspension, mesh, or artificial sphincter. Bladder neck suspensions are used to reinforce the bladder neck by stitching your bladder neck slightly higher. Mesh surgery involves placing a strip of synthetic mesh under your urethra to support it. Occasionally, if the urinary sphincter has failed, Dr. Kirk may replace it with an artificial sphincter. 

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery

Previously, all of these surgeries required large abdominal incisions. Thanks to minimally invasive procedures, Dr. Kirk can perform these surgeries through one or two small incisions, reducing your recovery time and hospital stay. 

At Adventist Health, Dr. Kirk is committed to focusing on the whole woman, which is why he’s an advocate for minimally invasive procedures for optimum healing. If you’re suffering from a gynecological problem, call Adventist Health or book an appointment online to learn more.

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