As many as three out of four women have uterine fibroids at some point during their lifetime. However, many times you can be unaware fibroids exist because they often cause no symptoms. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that can appear in your uterus during your childbearing years.
A myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids while leaving your uterus intact. For women who want to become pregnant, your chances of pregnancy may be improved. In fact, sometimes fibroids can interfere with your fertility.
There are three surgical methods for myomectomy: hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and laparotomy. Several factors determine which method will be used:
- Number of fibroids
- Need to correct urinary or bowel issues
During a hysteroscopy procedure, a lighted viewing instrument is inserted through the vagina and into the uterus. This technique is done to remove fibroids on the inner wall of the uterus that are not deep. This is an outpatient procedure, and recovery time varies from a few days to as long as two weeks.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which your doctor will make a small incision in or near your belly button to remove the fibroid. This method is typically used when you need to remove one or two fibroids, no larger than two inches across, that are growing on the outside of the uterus. A laparoscopy can be done on an outpatient basis, but you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. Recovery time is usually one to two weeks.
A laparotomy requires a full abdominal incision, either vertically or horizontally, under general anesthesia. Using an incision in your uterus down to the level of the fibroid, this technique is used to remove multiple fibroids, large fibroids or fibroids that have grown deep into your uterine wall. You will need to stay in the hospital for one to four days with a complete recovery time of four to six weeks.
After surgery, many women will experience some excessive menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure. Fibroids could return, but they may or may not require treatment. However, women who plan a pregnancy after a myomectomy often are able to conceive within one year of having the surgery.
Learn more about da Vinci robotic surgery for uterine fibroids.
To make an appointment, please contact the UAMS Fertility Clinic.