Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) December 20, 2006
April Varetto, a 37-year-old resident of the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, was told by her general practitioner that heavy bleeding was a normal sign of aging in women. His solution was to put her on Provera, which helped for about five years, and then suddenly stopped working.
By this time, her uterus had expanded to the size of a 37-week pregnancy -- three weeks short of full term -- with benign fibroid tumors. She was bleeding for weeks on end, and the hemorrhaging became so bad that her hemoglobin (red blood cell count) dropped from 14 to 9 within 48 hours.
"I was told I needed surgery and all any doctor in the U.K. offered was a 12" midline incision," said the insurance executive. "This was not acceptable."
The long recuperative time of four to eight weeks was off-putting. She searched more than 100 websites before she found what looked like a solution with Thomas L. Lyons, MD, of the Center for Women's Care & Reproductive Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia. He told her that heavy bleeding in women is not a normal sign of aging. Visit his site at: http://www.thomasllyons.com
Internet Research Paid Wellness Dividends
Through research she had learned the difference between gynecologic surgery done the old way, with long abdominal incisions, and the minimally invasive way, which has been practiced for more than a decade. After discussion with Dr. Lyons, she chose the least invasive surgical procedure, the Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy or LSH. Dr. Lyons developed this procedure in 1990 and has performed hundreds of them successfully.
A traditional 'bikini incision' means slicing through abdominal muscles and nerves which can take weeks or months to heal, and sometimes causes radiating pain down the legs. With laparoscopic procedures, patients endure less pain, less risk and recover more quickly.
"None of this is covered by insurance in the U.K.," said Varetto. No matter how important the procedure, this is considered an elective. But since no one in the U.K. can do it at Dr. Lyons' skill level, my husband and I flew over to Atlanta for the best I could find. I'm glad I did," she said.
Improved Sexual Function Post-Surgery
Importantly, LSH leaves the cervix intact as a keystone support to the female anatomy, which improves sexual function post-surgery and helps prevent pelvic prolapse later.
Discerning patients who aren't willing to settle for "the way it's always been done" find Dr. Lyons on the Internet and come from as far as Tokyo, Rome, Madrid, Australia and Buenos Aires.
Dr. Lyons has trained hundreds of surgeons around the world on the LSH technique he developed, but most doctors don't perform it. April said one doctor in the U.K. had been trained in the procedure but he said it would take him seven hours to complete.
Although some surgeons refuse to do laparoscopic surgery on a large uterus, the size of the problem is not an issue for Dr. Lyons. He successfully completed Varetto's surgery in less than four hours. Within five days she was enjoying Zoo Atlanta with her husband.
"To think I'd still have been in hospital if I'd had it done in England!" she exclaimed.
"It's especially important that patients choose a surgeon who is experienced in working with lasers and laparoscopy. LSH requires more skill than open abdominal hysterectomy. It's easier on the patient, but more challenging for the surgeon," explained Dr. Lyons.
Many surgeons will attempt a laparoscopic procedure and feel it necessary to convert to an open surgery with a long incision during the procedure. Make sure to ask your surgeon about his or her conversion ratio. Dr. Lyons' conversion ratio is less than one percent.
Center for Women's Care & Reproductive Surgery
770-352-0037, or toll-free 888-545-0400