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What is a Myomectomy?

There are plenty of women who experience issues with their reproductive health. Among the many issues that can cause notable symptoms and concerns is the presence of fibroids or noncancerous growths within the walls of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are considered the most common type of benign tumors that afflict female patients. While it typically occurs when a woman is within her childbearing age, fibroids can grow in the uterus at any time. The cases of uterine fibroids also tend to vary. While there are times when the condition causes little to no symptoms, there are occasions when these abnormal growths can cause complications like painful and heavier periods, trouble urinating, and even issues with fertility. The occurrence of such symptoms typically indicates the need for surgical intervention.

One way uterine fibroids can be treated is through a surgical procedure called a myomectomy. According to the Mayo Clinic, a myomectomy entails the removal of the symptom-causing growths and the reconstruction of the uterus. It is considered a conservative treatment option, suitable for women who are looking to alleviate the symptoms they are experiencing without foregoing their ability to bear children in the future. This is in contrast to a hysterectomy, the more aggressive treatment option usually reserved as a last result where the uterus of a patient is removed.

A myomectomy can be performed in three different ways. The traditional way to perform myomectomies is through a large incision in the abdominal wall. However, surgeons can also perform minimally invasive procedures that significantly reduce a patient’s risk of infection and recovery time. The first is called a transcervical resection, where the fibroid is removed using a special device inserted through the vagina and cervix that cuts tissue with high-frequency electrical energy. Another minimally invasive procedure is a laparoscopic myomectomy, performed through a small incision near the navel using specialized medical devices that allow a surgeon to navigate the area and resect the growth without having to cut open and expose the patient.

Since the 1990s, laparoscopic myomectomies have been performed with a device called power morcellator. A morcellator makes use of a fast spinning blade to cut down and shred tumor tissues, allowing surgeons to extract fibroids easily through small incisions. The device has proven to be quite useful since top pharmaceuticals like Johnson & Johnson introduced it to the market—until recently when several scientific studies show that morcellation could spread and exacerbate undetected uterine cancer. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the FDA recently issued a warning that these risks outweigh potential benefits brought about by the use of power morcellators. The FBI is also leading an inquiry on the device, focusing their attention on its manufacturers.

If you are considering a myomectomy to treat uterine fibroids, do not forget to ask your physician about the use of power morcellators. Open a dialogue about health risks and inquire about possible alternatives.

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