PEI

'I'll be wearing a bikini soon': More P.E.I. women choosing less invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy

Laparoscopic hysterectomies have been offered on P.E.I. since 2010, and doctors say more women are choosing them because they are less invasive, and involve less recovery time.

'Less pain, less bleeding, less recovery time'

Laporoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera to guide the surgeon and small incisions to remove the organ, in this case the uterus. (CBC)

Less than ten weeks after having a hysterectomy, Jill Lantz is back in pilates class.

Lantz admits she knew very little about the procedure before obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Krista Cassell suggested a laparoscopic surgery as an option.

"I went home and promptly googled the information and thought, yes I'd like to try it," said Lantz, who had large fibroids in her uterus, one of the most common reasons for having the procedure.

Jill Lantz says having the hysterectomy done laparoscopically was 'amazing.' (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Laparoscopic hysterectomies have been offered on P.E.I. since 2010, and doctors say more women are choosing them because they are less invasive, and involve less recovery time.

Tiny incisions make procedure less invasive

A small incision is made in the belly button and a tiny camera is inserted, allowing the surgeon to watch the image from the camera on a TV monitor. Two to three other tiny incisions are made in the lower abdomen, and then special instruments are inserted and used to remove the uterus.

Jill Lantz was able to return to pilates much more quickly because the surgery is less invasive. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"I thought how could they get this big lump out without opening me up, and they did," said Lantz. "And I lost four pounds too, instantly."

"I had no idea that was possible. I'm thrilled to death because I'll be wearing a bikini hopefully soon."

Less pain, less bleeding, less recovery time

Dr. Krista Cassell has been doing laparoscopic hysterectomies since 2010, when she and her colleagues in Charlottetown went for training in Halifax. She estimates they now do between 100 and 200 each year.

"There are a lot of advantages to any kind of minimally invasive surgery over open surgery," said Cassell.

Dr. Krista Cassell and her colleagues now perform between 100 and 200 laparoscopic hysterectomies a year on P.E.I. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

"There's often less pain, less bleeding, less recovery time, faster time back to your own activities, back to work … Often a shorter time in hospital, less scarring.

Not everyone is a candidate

Not everyone is a candidate for a laparoscopic procedure which could be ruled out if the uterus is too big to remove, or filled with cancer, and there are a few downsides to the operation.

"It can take a little longer to undergo the procedure so you might be in the operating room and under an anaesthetic for a little longer and it takes someone who is experienced enough to do the procedure," said Cassell.

'It was amazing'

For her part, Lantz wants to spread the word about the benefits of the laparoscopic procedure.

"I felt great, I had no pain, very little scarring," described Lantz. "I didn't even have a bandage. I could get up. It was amazing, actually. It was amazing."

"I was walking around the block within a week. Two weeks a bit of cycling. Three weeks back at moderate pilates. And then six weeks, totally totally healed."

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