Laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to remove a women's uterus. Physicians may recommend a hysterectomy for a variety of conditions, including several gynecological cancers and for benign gynecological conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
While a traditional hysterectomy involves a significant abdominal incision, a laparoscopic hysterectomy requires much smaller incisions, enabling patients to recover more quickly.
How a laparoscopic hysterectomy is performed
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is performed using a laparoscope, a thin, flexible tube containing a video camera. During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, surgeons make several small incisions in the abdomen near the navel through which they insert the laparoscope and thin tubes containing tiny surgical instruments. The laparoscope allows surgeons to guide the instruments to the uterus and perform the hysterectomy, removing the uterus in sections through the laparoscopic tube or through the vagina.
Advantages of a laparoscopic hysterectomy
A laparoscopic hysterectomy offers significant advantages over traditional surgery, including:
Faster recovery. Because laparoscopic surgery uses smaller incisions, patients typically have less pain, less bleeding, and reduced risk of infection, enabling them to return to work or normal activities more quickly. For most women, recovery after a laparoscopic hysterectomy lasts 2- 3 weeks, which is much shorter than the 6 – 8 weeks it takes patients to recover after a traditional hysterectomy.
Shorter hospital stay. Many patients are able to go home the same day as the surgery rather than remain in the hospital.
Better visibility. This surgical approach enables surgeons to see inside the pelvis more clearly than during abdominal surgery. This is due in part to the ability to magnify images on a screen and because lighting is better during a laparoscopy.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy at BWH
The Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) provides comprehensive care for women with a wide range of gynecological conditions, including pelvic pain, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, cervical incompetence, abdominal uterine bleeding and uterine fibroids.
In addition to a laparoscopic hysterectomy, minimally invasive surgical options at BWH include removal of endometriosis, presacral neurectomy, ovarian cystectomy, endometrial ablation, lysis of adhesions, laparoscopic myomectomy, and pelvic reconstruction.