There are several ways that doctors can help with your infertility issues. One technique is minimally invasive surgery (i.e. laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy). Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that involves a fiber optic scope that is inserted into small incisions near a patient’s navel. Laparoscopy and minimally invasive intervention in general is replacing other more invasive techniques wherever possible. This is due to the fact that laparoscopic techniques avoid large incisions, inflammation, and excess scar tissue. Laparoscopic surgery has become a preferred operation method for bariatric surgeries and gallbladder removals - but especially for gynecologists and the field of infertility. Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery can be beneficial for endometriosis, treating cysts or fibroids, and removing lodged IUDs. Let’s take a look at the four different ways this type of surgery can be beneficial for both treating the causes of infertility, managing pain, and preserving fertility for later in life.Endometriosis Treatment
Endometriosis is a condition in which the uterine tissue actually grows outside of the uterus instead of lining it, which causes severe pain, heavy periods and sometimes even infertility. Endometriosis affects approximately 5 million women across the United States alone. Common symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Extreme pain or discomfort before or during menses
- Breakthrough bleeding between periods
- Abnormal urination or bowel movements
- Unusual fatigue
- Painful intercourse
However, one of the most notable symptoms, and often most painful, is infertility. Inflammation of the fallopian tubes and fimbriae can cause swelling and scarring which can create a hostile environment for both sperm and eggs to survive. Additionally, the scar tissue can completely block the fallopian tubes, which in turn can block a fertilized eggs from reaching the uterus. This can be extremely frustrating for women wanting to start a family, but minimally invasive laparoscopy can resolve this thru cauterizing, lasering or removing the lesions caused by endometriosis.
An ovarian cystectomy is a process of removing cysts from one or both of a woman’s ovaries. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in the ovary that typically form during ovulation. Often times ovarian cysts are harmless, but for some women, they can cause extreme discomfort, including bloating and swelling in the abdomen. In rare cases, ovarian cysts can even become cancerous. If a cyst ruptures, it can cause sudden, severe pain which can interfere with a woman’s day-to-day activities. Because of this, doctors will often times suggest surgery to remove cysts that are growing too large, causing unusual pain or does not seem to be going away after menstrual cycles. Unlike open surgical procedures, treatment with minimally invasive laparoscopy is a great option since it requires only a small incision, removing the cysts while still keeping the ovaries and surrounding muscles intact.
Another similar procedure to an ovarian cystectomy is a myomectomy, which is the removal of fibroids from the uterus. Uterine fibroids are generally non-cancerous growths that can occur in the uterus during a woman’s childbearing years. In addition to pelvic pain and irregular or heavy periods, these fibroids can also cause blockages in the uterus that can make it more difficult to conceive. With uterine fibroids, it may be harder for an embryo to successfully implant itself in the uterus. A myomectomy can be successfully completed with minimally invasive laparoscopy, which can reduce the risk of excessive blood loss, buildup of scar tissue, complications with childbirth and other risks that come along with open surgeries, which could even lead to having to have a full hysterectomy.
Lysis of Adhesions
As seen with all three of the conditions mentioned above, scar tissue (i.e. from endometriosis or cesarean birth) in the uterus can be a problem for women who are trying to conceive. Lysis of adhesions is a procedure in which the scar tissue in the uterus is removed or scar tissue outside the uterus in the abdominal cavity. Symptoms of uterine adhesions may include a light or non-existent menstrual period, severe pelvic pain, infertility and sometimes even recurrent miscarriages. Lysis of adhesions is best done with minimally invasive techniques laparoscopy/hysteroscopy because it reduces the risk of additional adhesions from forming after the resection. This will increase the chances of fertility in the future and prevent any further complications from uterine adhesions.
These four conditions can be treated and successfully overcome with the help of minimally invasive procedures, laparoscopy/hysteroscopy. Laparoscopic/hysteroscopy surgery is a great option for women who are having issues with infertility but want to minimize risks and avoid further complications from major surgeries.
Kofinas Fertility Group offers comprehensive treatment for all fertility issues, including issues that require surgical care such as laparoscopic surgery. Our team of experts are highly experienced with reproductive surgeries to maximize your chances of conception. Depending on your specific condition, a custom surgical plan is developed to best fit your individual needs. To learn more about laparoscopic surgery and additional fertility treatments, schedule an appointment today to be informed of your options.