During a fertility evaluation, many women are diagnosed with anatomic problems that make it difficult for them to conceive and deliver a healthy child. These problems may include uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, uterine septa, and problems with the fallopian tubes. Thankfully, the vast majority of these issues can be addressed and corrected through minimally invasive surgery.
Below are 5 things you should know about minimally invasive surgery and fertility:
- Minimally invasive surgery is performed using small, if any, incisions – with benefits including relatively quick recovery times, shorter hospital stays, and lower complication rates. This is unlike major abdominal surgery, in which a larger incision is made and carried down to the abdominal cavity.
- Many fertility problems can be corrected with minimally invasive surgeries such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. Laparoscopy is accomplished by making several small incisions (most are about 5 mm, or 1/4 inch, in size) in the abdomen, through which the surgeon can perform relatively complex surgical interventions to address problems including but not limited to the repair of damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and pelvic scarring. Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding. Hysteroscopy is done using a hysteroscope, a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus. There are no incisions required to perform hysteroscopy, just dilation of the cervix.
- The removal of large abdominal structures can safely and effectively be performed by minimally invasive surgery. Perhaps the best example of this new technology is robotic surgery. The added ease of manipulation and improved visualization used with robotic surgery make even large surgeries, such as the removal of uterine fibroids, now possible with only a few small incisions. In some cases a mini-laparotomy, which involves ‘bikini cut’ incision of about 2 inches, can also be used to remove large fibroids with the patient being sent home the same day. The type of incision that is used depends on several variables such as the size, number, and location of the fibroids as well as the weight of the patient.
- Over the past decades, the technology associated with minimally invasive surgery techniques has improved dramatically. Specialized tools now make correcting even complicated anatomic problems possible through a minimally invasive approach. Robotic technology allows precise, versatile instrument movement combined with three-dimensional visualization of the operative site.
- Fertility Associates of Memphis is proud to offer the most cutting-edge minimally invasive surgery techniques available. Last year, Dr. Amelia Purser Bailey joined Fertility Associates of Memphis as the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery. Dr. Bailey completed her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., where she worked with some of the best minimally invasive surgeons in the world. In addition to treating all areas of infertility, her special interests include robotic surgery and the treatment of congenital abnormalities of the reproductive tract.
In the United States, about 15 percent of all couples will face fertility issues, either with obtaining or maintaining a healthy pregnancy. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey or any of the physicians at Fertility Associates of Memphis, please contact our office at 901-747-2229. We would be happy to help evaluate your fertility and explore steps you can take to maximize your chances of achieving pregnancy.