Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH): An Alternative for Hysterectomy
With more than 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States every year – the second most common major surgery for women – the benefit of offering women a surgery option that cuts the recovery time from a range of four to six weeks to a maximum of one to two weeks is clearly evident.
In fact, a recent report put a price tag on it. The savings to the employer alone in reduced lost work, disability and sick leave totaled just under $2,000.
Until recently, most hysterectomies, the surgical removal of the uterus, were performed through a large abdominal incision which means a long recovery and a visible scar. Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH) – a minimally-invasive technique - results in less pain, a shorter recovery and less scarring than with the more invasive abdominal procedure.
"I really believe that LSH is the standard that women expect," says Klaus D. Diem, MD, the first UW Health Obstetrical/Gynecologist to perform LSH at Meriter Hospital. "We have the ability to do the same procedure through three one-half inch incisions, allowing us to send many patients home the same day as surgery. They return to normal life in 10-14 days and take much less pain medication," says Dr. Diem.
During the operation, a doctor inserts the thin 5-millimeter telescope-like instrument, called a laparoscope, through a tiny incision to see into the abdomen, and then guides cutting and grabbing tools through two other incisions.
The blood vessels and connective tissue to the uterus are cut, then the uterus is dissected and removed in strips. The cervix is left intact, which helps to provide better pelvic floor support and to hasten the return to normal sexual functions. There are still areas of this county, and even within the state of Wisconsin where LSH is not available. Diem believes that the more women are aware of LSH, the more physicians will offer it.
"We're hoping to raise awareness of the various options," he says. "Women demanding choice will bring about the greatest change."