Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus (womb). For certain conditions, the Fallopian tubes and ovaries are also removed.
The most common medical reasons for doing a hysterectomy include benign fibroid tumors of the uterus, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, genital prolapse, and chronic pelvic pain. Some women choose to have a hysterectomy for other reasons, including other types of tumors. Uterine cancer is an uncommon, but important reason for doing a hysterectomy.
What is a laparoscope?
A laparoscope is a viewing tube through which structures within the abdomen and pelvis can be seen. A small surgical incision (cut) is made in the abdominal wall to permit the laparoscope to enter the abdomen or pelvis. Additional tubes can also be pushed through the same or other small incisions allowing the introduction of probes and other instruments. In this way, surgical procedures can be performed without the need for a large surgical incision.
What is laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH)?
Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) is a surgical procedure using a laparoscope to guide the removal of the uterus and/or Fallopian tubes and ovaries through the vagina (birth canal). (A different procedure, called a laparoscopic hysterectomy, is entirely performed using a laparoscope and other instruments inserted through tiny abdominal incisions, and the uterus, Fallopian tubes etc. are removed in tiny portions.)
Not all hysterectomies can or should be done by LAVH. In certain situations, a laparoscopic hysterectomy (see above) may be sufficient. In other cases, an abdominal hysterectomy or a vaginal hysterectomy (without laparoscopy) is indicated. The surgeon determines the appropriate procedure for each individual case based upon the reason for the hysterectomy and the medical history and condition of the patient.
Next: How is LAVH performed?
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