Traveling 10,000+ Miles For Advanced Laparoscopic Fibroid Removal
Facing Open Surgery in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dwina Searched Beyond Her Borders & Discovered CIGC
Traveling for surgery is a commitment. Even more so when the surgeon is on the opposite side of the world. So what would make a patient bypass all of the surgeons in her home city and travel all the way from Jakarta, Indonesia to The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC) in Rockville, MD for a hysterectomy for fibroid removal? Advanced laparoscopic fibroid removal techniques developed by world-renowned surgical specialists.
“I was about to undertake surgery in Jakarta,” said Dwina. “Something happened to make me postpone the surgery which gave me more time to understand my options. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have a less invasive surgery. I held off seeing a doctor for a long time. I thought it was my fault. I waited because it didn’t bother me. The fibroid had gotten so big that I had acid reflux.”
“I have a position that keeps me very busy. Having the time to really think about it, I knew I wanted laparoscopic surgery. I started reading that the risk of conversion to an open surgery with the surgeons in Jakarta was high.”
Around the world, women who suffer with complex conditions have a higher risk of laparoscopic surgeries converting to more painful open procedures when complications arise. Open procedures can mean longer recovery times, and more pain.
“I found and read The Center For Innovative GYN Care website. It was very informative, but it was so far away in America. I continued looking closer to home, but no one could assure me that it wouldn’t convert to an open surgery.”
The advanced techniques developed by the CIGC founders Paul MacKoul, MD and Natalya Danilyants, MD make it possible for women with complex conditions like large fibroids, an enlarged uterus, or extensive endometriosis to have laparoscopic procedures without the risk of converting to an open procedure.
Choosing CIGC from a Wide World of Surgical Options
“I took a chance and emailed CIGC. I spoke to Dr. Paul MacKoul. He said that he would be able to take care of me. I wanted to take the earliest possible date. It was only a few weeks later, still in the same month. My husband wasn’t available, and I thought I would be ok traveling on my own. What made me really decide that this was the right destiny for me was I had a friend in Washington D.C. and she said it was five minutes from her home. I realized at that point, I had to go.”
Women have traveled to CIGC for laparoscopic hysterectomy and laparoscopic myomectomy procedures from across the United States and from 18 countries around the world.
“The conversion rate (at CIGC) is 0, it’s all laparoscopic and for me that is really something that is a wonder, it was the best news ever. Something before that was unattainable, so I was so excited. I had no fear whatsoever.”
What to Expect When Traveling to CIGC
“The way that CIGC handles out of town patients was very smooth. How I was handled from the start, it was easy for me. It’s quite a big decision, it’s not something that is usual, even for the people around me to travel for such a distance. It was taking a big chance.”
The CIGC travel program was designed to help women from around the world have access to advanced minimally invasive GYN procedures with exceptional outcomes.
“Everything was handled so professionally, the administration, the documentation, everything went very smooth for me. I was away for one week, and it was perfect for my mind, because I was able to recover without being interrupted. I came back refreshed. It’s been two months and the surgery doesn’t affect me at all now. Dr. MacKoul left my cervix and an ovary so overall impact was minimal.”
Advanced Laparoscopic Fibroid Remove for Complex Conditions
“I was accepted from the start. Everything went smoothly from there. He did what he said he was going to do, and that was so important to me. For Dr. Paul, this was manageable. Anywhere else I would have had an open, vertical incision.”
“My case is really special, because it was so big. It was 28 cm, it was already pushing into the rib cage. Dr. MacKoul performed a supracervical hysterectomy. What he performed for me was the best option. The surgery was even better than I expected. It’s not just that I feel so good, but comparing it to the surgery I had in 1997 for a myomectomy, I know the difference. This time I was almost immediately on my feet. It wasn’t just physical, it was mental. I feel so much better.”
“A little bit unusual for his patients, but I had such a long way to travel home, Dr. MacKoul wanted me to spend one night in the hospital to make sure everything was fine. For the remainder of the week, I recovered with my friend. The next day I didn’t need any pain killer. I went to buy some groceries. I spent a few days with my friend so that I could have the post-op on Saturday, and I went back to Jakarta on Sunday.”
Life After Surgery at CIGC
“It was such a happy ending for me. I can’t say anything but positive things about the experience. I’m so happy to talk about it. I should be able to share with others and the fact that I’m willing to do it from so far away. It should be easier for others to understand why traveling to CIGC is worth it. Sometimes in life you just have to listen to yourself. I didn’t tell people before I left because I didn’t want them to try to tell me that it was too risky.”
“I wasn’t prepared for the bonus, I think I dropped about 8 lbs from the surgery. I had never been proportional. I was small but my abdomen was larger. Now, I am looking for clothes that accentuate my waist. I dropped a few sizes. It’s such a nice bonus for me. I have my best body ever at 50. I get to reap the benefits of all of the exercise and healthy eating now. You can be better and healthier if you take care of it.”
Taking a Leap of Faith and Challenging the Recommendations of Physicians at Home
“I did a lot of research. My biggest hurdle was that I felt I was offending the doctors here, but I wanted the surgery as laparoscopic. I had to put the decision on myself. This is my life and I have to be the one to endure this.”
“At home, facing six weeks of recovery from a surgery was not an option for me. One week of travel, surgery and recovery was something I could do. My total time out of the office included 2+ days of traveling. I was back to the office after about a week.”
“The mental battle for many women can make it hard to make the decision to go against their own doctors. The Center (CIGC) is very understanding. Getting the reports from my doctors, and the skepticism, made it difficult to take the leap. But I did the research and am willing to take risks. I respect the doctors in Jakarta, and I understand their concerns, but you also have to understand yourself and research all options out there. You deserve the best treatment.”
“The overall cost was surprisingly not as high as here. Robotic surgery here in Jakarta would have been higher than traveling to the Center. I even have less costs than a friend who had robotic surgery here. Now, the Center has gotten very popular among my friends, and Dr. Paul is a household name.”
The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Fibroid Removal at CIGC
There are two laparoscopic surgery options for fibroid removal at The Center for Innovative GYN Care based in DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. LAAM fibroid removal to maintain fertility and DualPortGYN for hysterectomy.
The LAAM minimally invasive technique for myomectomy is an important development, as it allows the surgeons to feel all of the fibroids. This cannot be accomplished by a robot or with standard laparoscopy. CIGC patients return to themselves in about 2 weeks. LAAM is performed as an outpatient procedure, so women return home the same day. The incisions are small, so recovery is typically two weeks or less.
The LAAM technique developed by the minimally invasive GYN surgeons at CIGC uses 2 small incisions, one 5 MM incision at the belly button, and another 1.5 inch incision at the bikini line. Through the lower 1.5 inch incision, the CIGC surgeon can repair the uterus so that women who wish to maintain fertility will have a better chance of conceiving and carrying a child to term. Using advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, LAAM allows the surgeons to thoroughly remove all fibroids, no matter the size, location or number, and the uterus is repaired by hand.
A DualPortGYN hysterectomy uses just two tiny 5 mm incisions, one at the belly button, and the other at the bikini line. A minimally invasive hysterectomy is recommended for women who have abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain due to adenomyosis and who are finished with child bearing. While fibroids can be removed with a minimally invasive myomectomy, additional fibroids are likely to grow. The only cure for fibroids is a hysterectomy.
LAAM and DualPortGYN use an advanced technique called retroperitoneal dissection. The surgeon is able to see the entire pelvic cavity, and using bilateral uterine artery occlusion, blood loss is minimal. This is an advancement over other procedures, as they cannot control for blood loss, which limits the size and number of fibroids that can be removed.
Want to Explore the Next Step?
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at two locations in the DC metro area and two locations in Montclair, NJ, and Manhattan, NY. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available, or schedule a consultation at our Maryland office located in Rockville, MD.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind. Dr. Rupen Baxi, MD is a CIGC-trained minimally invasive GYN specialist with extensive fellowship training and a respected speaker and researcher.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.