Reasons Why Would You Need a Myomectomy
A myomectomy can help remove uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that can develop in the tissues of the uterus. While uterine fibroids aren't life-threatening, they can be painful. Many women with fibroids experience heavy menstrual periods, pelvic pressure, or painful cramps. These symptoms may interfere with activities of daily life.
There are many treatments available to women with fibroids, but myomectomies are often a good option for those who may want to have children in the future. Unlike hysterectomies, myomectomies preserve your uterus and may protect your fertility.
Today, many myomectomies are performed using laparoscopic surgical techniques. Laparoscopic surgery uses tiny incisions and long, slender surgical tools, thus helping to reduce the risk of scarring and infection when compared with traditional surgery. Women undergoing laparoscopic myomectomies typically spend one night in the hospital. After the procedure, it may take 2 to 4 weeks for a complete recovery.
However, in some cases, your doctor may recommend an open surgical procedure called abdominal myomectomy. Women undergoing abdominal myomectomies may need to spend several nights in the hospital, and at-home recovery time may last for up to six weeks. Abdominal myomectomies may sometimes cause complications during future births. If you're planning on becoming pregnant, make sure to discuss your plans with your surgeon.
Your surgeon can explain which type of surgical procedure is right for you. Young women with no other health conditions are often good candidates for laparoscopic surgery, but if your fibroids are large, you may need to undergo open surgery.
Risks of a Myomectomy
Myomectomy procedures are generally safe and have a low complication rate, but as with all medical procedures, complications can sometimes arise.
Post-surgical infections are a risk with any surgery. Your medical team will take precautions to prevent infections during your procedure. Afterward, you'll receive special instructions for keeping your incisions clean at home.
Myomectomies may cause some scarring. Often, the scars are a minor cosmetic concern, but in some cases, scar tissue can interfere with future pregnancies. If you plan on becoming pregnant in the future, it's important to discuss this with your doctor. Your medical provider can help you weigh all your treatment options.
Blood loss can occur during any surgical procedure, and it can be a particular concern during myomectomy procedures. Many women with fibroids are already anemic due to heavy menstrual periods. Your doctor may recommend treatments to build up your iron stores before surgery. Depending on your blood counts, your surgeon may also recommend a blood transfusion during or after surgery. However, it's rare for a woman to experience significant hemorrhaging as a result of a myomectomy.
Myomectomy often presents an excellent alternative to a hysterectomy, although surgeons may discover that uterine abnormalities are more severe than anticipated. In rare cases, it may be necessary for the surgeon to perform a complete hysterectomy. If you have large fibroids or other complications, talk to your doctor about this possibility. Ask what steps will be taken if your surgeon determines that you need a hysterectomy.
What to Expect with a Myomectomy
You will need to fast for several hours before the surgery. Your medical team may also tell you to stop taking certain medications a few days before the surgery. Following these instructions is essential for preventing complications during the surgery. Tell your medical team about all medicines you're taking, including vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs.
On the day of your surgery, you will change into a hospital gown and be shown to a patient waiting area. A nurse will take your vital signs and ask you how you're feeling. You may also receive IV fluids.
Usually, your surgeon will speak to you before your procedure. During this time, your surgeon will answer any last-minute questions and let you know what to expect after your procedure. Next, your anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia. You may be placed under general anesthesia, or you may receive a local anesthetic and a sedative. Your surgeon will explain beforehand which type of anesthesia you'll receive.
After the procedure is over, hospital staff will keep you under observation in a recovery area. Then, once you're ready to leave, your discharge nurse will explain how to care for yourself at home. You may receive a prescription for pain medication or antibiotics. Your nurse will also let you know when you can resume your normal activities. Your doctor may arrange for a follow-up appointment a few days after surgery. During this appointment, your doctor will examine your incisions to make sure you're healing well.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Myomectomies
- What treatment options are available to me?
- How will this procedure affect my fertility?
- Where will my surgery take place?
- Who will perform my surgery?
- What kind of anesthesia will I receive before the procedure?
- What kind of pain relief will I receive after the procedure?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
Myomectomy May Also Be Known as:
- Uterine myomectomy
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- Mayo Clinic. Myomectomy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/myomectomy/about/pac-20384710
- University of California, San Francisco Health. Myomectomy. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/treatments/myomectomy/