There are several approaches that can be used for an MIP hysterectomy:
- Vaginal hysterectomy: The surgeon makes a cut in the vagina and removes the uterus through this incision. The incision is closed, leaving no visible scar.
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy: This surgery is done using a laparoscope, which is a tube with a lighted camera, and surgical tools inserted through several small cuts made in the belly or, in the case of a single site laparoscopic procedure, one small cut made in the belly button. The surgeon performs the hysterectomy from outside the body, viewing the operation on a video screen.
- Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy: Using laparoscopic surgical tools, a surgeon removes the uterus through an incision in the vagina.
- Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy: This procedure is similar to a laparoscopic hysterectomy, but the surgeon controls a sophisticated robotic system of surgical tools from outside the body. Advanced technology allows the surgeon to use natural wrist movements and view the hysterectomy on a three-dimensional screen.
Comparison of MIP Hysterectomy and Abdominal Hysterectomy
Using an MIP approach to remove the uterus offers a number of benefits when compared to the more traditional open surgery used for an abdominal hysterectomy. In general, an MIP allows for faster recovery, shorter hospital stays, less pain and scarring, and a lower chance of infection than does an abdominal hysterectomy.
With an MIP, women are generally able to resume their normal activity within an average of three to four weeks, compared to four to six weeks for an abdominal hysterectomy. And the costs associated with an MIP are considerably lower than the costs associated with open surgery, depending on the instruments used and the time spent in the operating room. Robotic procedures, however, can be much more expensive. There is also less risk of incisional hernias with an MIP.
Not every woman is a good candidate for a minimally invasive procedure. The presence of scar tissue from previous surgeries, obesity, and health status can all affect whether or not an MIP is advisable. You should talk with your doctor about whether you might be a candidate for an MIP.