WOMANHOOD IS NOT DEFINED BY A UTERUS: DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT HYSTERECTOMY
Who you are today has less to do with your anatomy than it did when previous generations insisted on defining gender roles. In modern life, gender fluidity, particularly when it comes to a child’s development, has also joined the conversation. What it means to be a woman is constantly being redefined.
When it comes to needing surgery to treat fibroids, adenomyosis or other complex GYN conditions, however, old-fashioned misunderstandings still abound. Part of the problem is not knowing just how the female reproductive system affects a woman’s overall health.
WHAT IS A HYSTERECTOMY?
Hysterectomy is simply the removal of the uterus. The uterus does not affect hormone production, which is often confusing. The ovaries are responsible for the production of hormones. Ovary removal is called an oophorectomy, and can be performed with a hysterectomy, but they are not the same procedure. In too many instances, even members of the medical community conflate the two procedures without explanation. Radical hysterectomy, full hysterectomy, and total hysterectomy are terms used for removing uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix.
The confusion stems from only using the term hysterectomy. This has led hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) to incorrectly be associated with enforced menopause, decreased sex drive, personal climate changes (hot flashes), and increased risk of heart disease and bone loss. Those symptoms can occur with the removal of the ovaries, the primary source of estrogen in a woman’s body. However, hysterectomy does not always include an oophorectomy.
Paul MacKoul, M.D. discusses this confusion frequently with his patients. “Conditions like fibroids or adenomyosis can be cured by having a hysterectomy performed, helping a patient live an active, full life. In many cases, it is not always necessary to perform an oophorectomy, unless the ovaries are diseased or there is a high risk of ovarian cancer. Once a woman is no longer able to or interested in having children, the benefit of a hysterectomy outweighs the risks of performing other more invasive types of surgery, like a myomectomy, even if it is performed laparoscopically.”
CHOOSING THE BEST HYSTERECTOMY TECHNIQUE & SPECIALIST MATTERS
“Surgeons should be trained on powerful techniques that enhance surgical outcomes for their patients,” said Dr. MacKoul. “We always recommend the most minimally invasive procedure that has patient safety at the forefront, and also has stellar results.”
A DualPortGYN® hysterectomy uses just two tiny 5mm incisions, one at the belly button and one just above the pubic bone. The procedure averages less than an hour, and patients return home the same day, recovering in a week or less. Compared to other open or robotic procedures performed by general practitioners or OB/GYNs that require 4-8 weeks for recovery, the DualPortGYN shorter surgery and recovery times offer patients the benefits of less anesthesia and faster mobility to minimize the risk of blood clots.
“Any physician recommending hysterectomy needs to be sympathetic to the pervasive fears that women have about the procedure,” said Natalya Danilyants, MD. “Take the time to explain all of the options available, what the terms mean at length, and be able to offer an exceptional procedure that minimizes the recovery for the patient, even if that means referring them to a specialist.”
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC® state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, 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.