Some MDs Still "In the Dark Ages" On Exponential Advances in Minimally Invasive GYN Procedures

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After 20 Years, Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH) Not Well Known--Patients, Insurers and Employers All Lose Time & Money

Holistic gynecologist Juaquita Callaway, MD, had a problem. Multiple uterine fibroids caused persistent bleeding and disrupted her lifestyle.

After initial fibroid removal in 1992, she was able to slow the tumors' re-growth tremendously with diet change, stress management and dealing with emotional issues--part of the same Rx she offers her own patients.

Fifteen years later, when facing a hysterectomy, she hesitated because of the perceived post-surgery downtime, often six to eight weeks.

She came to Thomas L. Lyons, MD, of the Center for Women's Care & Reproductive Surgery, for a more conservative procedure to stop the bleeding. However, based on her ultrasound the two gynecologists concurred that she needed a hysterectomy, but she didn't want to be out of work in recuperation for three weeks.

Dr. Lyons assured her that she would be back to work after surgery in one week. And she was.

"When I saw my surgical video and Dr. Lyons' technique in action I was speechless. Where have I been--in the Dark Ages? Although at first I was skeptical, my outcome far exceeded my expectations," said Dr. Callaway.

"It was the best thing I've ever done for my health," she added. "As a holistic doctor who considered surgery as a last resort, I realize now that there can be a successful blend. When my patients need a surgeon, I send them to Dr. Lyons."

Initial Concerns All Handled

Her most important concern was the shortest recovery time possible. "I chose a gynecologic surgeon who practices laparoscopic procedures ALL the time, rather than just occasionally. That's his specialty. He trains others around the world," she said.

When Dr. Callaway awoke from anesthesia after her procedure in June, 2007, she felt no pain. "I'd requested no narcotics because I wanted to wake up," she explained. "My bandages were the main indicator I'd had surgery!"

She'd expressed some concerns about potential scarring of her navel, where the uterus is removed through via a tiny incision.

"My navel looks the same--I could not believe it! Now I can't even see where I had the incisions."

Traditional "bikini incisions" for GYN procedures mean slicing through abdominal muscles and nerves which can take weeks or months to heal, and sometimes cause radiating pain down the legs. With laparoscopic procedures, patients endure less pain, less risk and recover more quickly.

Often, problems don't require surgery at all--but can be fixed with non-invasive, less costly in-office procedures.

"Tragic" Lack of Information Among Physicians After Two Decades

"Too often patients have come to me after having seen their primary care physician or another gynecologist who either a) did not inform them of the availability of minimally invasive treatments, or b) convinced them erroneously that their particular problem was not amenable to such. The patients were overcome with relief and gratitude upon learning otherwise," said C.Y. Liu, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists journal, NewsScope Oct-Dec 2008 issue.

"How tragic that with a two-decade-plus history, minimally invasive gynecologic procedures still fly beneath the radar!" Dr. Liu said. "Not only is the general public largely unaware of such treatments, but the medical community--and, sadly, even our own field--are also lacking in knowledge."

LSH or laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy, is removal of the uterus through tiny incisions. It spares the cervix as a keystone support for female anatomy, helping to prevent pelvic prolapse later, and for better sexual function post-surgery.

Dr. Thomas L. Lyons, founder of the Center for Women's Care, developed the LSH in 1989, and he has performed thousands successfully. He trains surgeons throughout the world on the procedure.

Even if removing extremely large uteri (the size of five month pregnancies), his conversion ratio is less than one percent. Conversion ratio refers to the number of cases that a doctor has to convert from a tiny incision to an "open" procedure--or larger incision (the bikini incision or laparotomy).

Thousands of discerning patients aren't willing to settle for the way it's always been done if they can find better GYN solutions. Many find laparoscopic pioneer Dr. Lyons on the Internet, and come to him from around the world.

The story of Dr. Lyons & Dr. Callaway aired on CBS-Atlanta's "Better Mornings" on 2/5/09.


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