Uterine Fibroid Treatment in Columbia, SC
Are you suffering from uterine fibroids?
With more than 25 years of experience as a board certified gynecologist, Dr. Albert Odom prides himself in providing the best in fibroid treatment to patients in Columbia and throughout Richland County. If you and Dr. Odom determine that you have uterine fibroids, it is a good idea to discuss the various options for fibroid treatment that are available to you. Call our women’s health clinic in Columbia at (803) 907-7300 to schedule your appointment today!
Non-Invasive Fibroid Treatments
DIAGNOSIS AND WATCHFUL WAITING
If your uterine fibroids do not cause symptoms, there is no need to treat them. Dr. Odom may want to watch them and monitor for any fibroid growth at each of your annual gynecological (OB-GYN) examinations. Some women in Richland County may have fibroids, but not experience symptoms that affect their daily life.
Medications for uterine fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids, but may shrink them. The side effects of using these medications are similar to the symptoms experienced as a result of hormonal changes during and after menopause. These include weight gain, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, changes in metabolism and infertility. In almost all cases, once hormone therapy has been stopped, fibroids tend to grow back, possibly reaching their original size again. This often occurs if the use of hormone therapy is not accompanied by another treatment.
A procedure called endometrial ablation destroys the endometrium – the lining of your uterus – with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. No incisions are needed for endometrial ablation. Dr. Odom carefully inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus. The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other methods depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies. Endometrial ablation can only be used to treat submucosal fibroids that are less than one inch in diameter.
Surgical Fibroid Treatments
Acessa is a safe, effective and minimally invasive Laparoscopic surgery that addresses symptomatic uterine fibroids of all sizes and locations, without harming the uterus. Acessa utilizes a technology called radiofrequency ablation, and treats each fibroid by applying energy through a small needle. The surrounding normal uterine tissue is not damaged or otherwise affected. Over time, the treated fibroid tissue shrinks and may become completely reabsorbed by the body. Acessa is performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient visit, and only two very small (approximately 1/4”) abdominal incisions are needed during the procedure – there is no cutting, suturing or removal of the uterus itself, and women go home the same day.
Learn about the Acessa procedure which is an outpatient Laparoscopic surgery that will shrink or eliminate fibroids!
In this procedure a long, thin scope with a light is passed through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. No incision is needed. A camera also can be used with the scope. Submucosal or intracavitary fibroids are easily visualized and can be resected or removed using a wire loop or similar device. Patients usually are sent home after the procedure. The hospital stay can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours and recovery time is generally 1-2 days. Generally only fibroids that are small and accessible through the cavity can be treated this way.
The laparoscope is a slender telescope that is inserted through the navel to view the pelvic and abdominal organs. Two or three small, half-inch incisions are made below the pubic hairline and instruments are passed through these small incisions to perform the surgery. Next, a small scissors-like instrument is used to open the thin covering of the uterus. The uterine fibroid is found underneath this covering, grasped, and freed from its attachments to the normal uterine muscle. After the fibroid is removed from the uterus, it must be brought out of abdominal cavity. The fibroid is cut into small pieces with a special instrument called a morcellator, and the pieces are removed through one of the small incisions. Most women are able to leave the hospital the same day as surgery. For more extensive surgery, a one-day stay may be required. Patients can usually walk on the day of surgery, drive in about a week and return to normal activity, work, and exercise within two weeks.
In this operation, a gynecologist enters the pelvic cavity through one or two incisions, depending on the size of the fibroid(s). A vertical incision is made from the middle of your abdomen, extends from just below your navel to just above your pubic bone. A vertical incision is recommended if your uterus has reached or exceeded the size comparable to if it were carrying a sixteen (16) week pregnancy. This incision might also be used if a fibroid is in a ligament between your uterus and pelvic wall. In other cases, a horizontal bikini-line incision is made that runs about an inch (about 2.5 centimeters) above your pubic bone. This incision follows your natural skin lines, so it usually results in a thinner scar and causes less pain than a vertical incision. Because it limits Dr. Odom’s access to your pelvic cavity, a bikini-line incision may not be appropriate if you have a large fibroid. Abdominal myomectomy usually requires a hospital stay of two to three days. Recovery takes four to six weeks.
The uterus is removed through the vaginal opening. This procedure is most often used in cases of uterine prolapse, or when vaginal repairs are necessary for related conditions. During a vaginal hysterectomy, Dr. Odom detaches the uterus from the ovaries, fallopian tubes and upper vagina, as well as from the blood vessels and connective tissue that support it. The uterus is then removed through the vagina. However, if your uterus is enlarged, vaginal hysterectomy may not be possible.
LAPAROSCOPE-ASSISTED VAGINAL HYSTERECTOMY (LAVH)
Laparoscopically-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) is a surgical procedure using a laparoscope (a thin, flexible tube containing a video camera) to guide the removal of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes and ovaries through the vagina (birth canal). During LAVH, several small incisions are made in the abdominal wall through which slender metal tubes known as “trocars” are inserted to provide passage for a laparoscope and other microsurgical tools. Next, the uterus is detached from the ligaments that attach it to other structures in the pelvis using the laparoscopic tools. The fallopian tubes and ovaries are also detached from their ligaments and blood supply. The organs and tissue are then removed through an incision made in the vagina. LAVH typically requires a one to three day hospital stay. Complete recovery time is usually four weeks.
The uterus is removed through the abdomen via a surgical incision about six to eight inches long. The main surgical incision can be made either vertically, from the navel down to the pubic bone, or horizontally, along the top of the pubic hairline. After the incision has been made through the layers of skin, muscle, and other tissue, Dr. Odom will inspect the organs and other structures in the abdomen and pelvis. The tissues connecting the uterus to blood vessels and other structures in the pelvis will be carefully cut away. The uterus will be removed, along with any other structures such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix, as required by your situation. Abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days, but it could be longer. The recovery period is usually about six to eight weeks.
vNOTES (vaginal natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery) is another option to consider for your hysterectomy. It is the next advancement in minimally invasive surgery and does not require abdominal skin incisions. In the vNOTES procedure, Dr. Odom uses specialized instruments inserted through the vagina instead of creating visible abdominal incisions in the body. This allows Dr. Odom to gain access to the uterus and/or fallopian tubes and ovaries without any visible scarring.
Schedule Your Uterine Fibroid Treatment Consultation Today!
Looking for more clarification on which option is right for you? Contact Dr. Albert Odom at his Columbia, SC office at (803) 907-7300.