Revolution in hysterectomy surgery comes to Springfield


A new hysterectomy procedure that leaves no scars and causes little pain has been performed at Mater Private Hospital Springfield for the first time.

The minimally invasive surgery, performed by Mater gynaecologist Dr James McLaren, eliminates the need for surgical incisions in the patient’s abdomen.

Patient Kylie Godfrey, 49, of Logan Village, said her life had changed dramatically after the Vaginal Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (vNOTES) in December and she was “up and about straight after surgery, and home the next day”.

Each year in Australia, more than 32,000 hysterectomies are performed. The surgery involves the removal of the uterus and fallopian tubes.

The three most common ways to perform a hysterectomy include vaginal, laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery and abdominal surgery, which leaves the patient with a scar on their stomach similar to that of a caesarean section.

Dr McLaren said vNOTES enabled surgeons to remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, and, if required, ovaries through the vagina, with the use of specialised instruments.

The instruments are placed through the vagina into the pelvic cavity, avoiding the need for abdominal skin incisions.

The Mater Mothers’ specialist studied the technique while working at London’s King’s College Hospital and is one of only a handful of Queensland surgeons qualified to perform the procedure.

“Compared with an abdominal hysterectomy procedure, where recovery can take up to six weeks, minimally invasive approaches such as vNOTES provides obvious benefits such as faster recovery, less post-operative pain and decreased blood loss,” Dr McLaren said.

“Unlike the standard vaginal approach, vNOTES allows for easy access to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Removal of fallopian tubes at the time of hysterectomy has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

“Reduced operating times and shorter recovery times in hospital are other benefits of this procedure.”

Mrs Godfrey said she had been aware of vNOTES, but postponed having the surgery done until it was available at a hospital closer to her home.

“I had really hideous menstrual cycles and was in lots of pain,” Mrs Godfrey said.

“I knew the recovery time was quicker and I have had next to no pain since having the procedure.”

Mrs Godfrey works as an executive assistant office manager. She said looking after her five-year-old granddaughter Ruby had been “much easier” following the procedure.

“My advice to any woman putting up with bleeding and pain is to look into having this procedure done – it was life-changing for me.”

Since introducing the procedure at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in March this year, Dr McLaren has performed 18 vNOTES hysterectomies, providing the surgery at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and now Mater Private Hospital Springfield.

vNOTES hysterectomies can be performed for a number of conditions such as uterine fibroids, prolapse of the uterus, pelvic pain, abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding, and painful periods.

Dr McLaren said there were a number of alternative treatment options available before a hysterectomy was required.

“Vaginal, laparoscopic, abdominal and vNOTES hysterectomies all have their place and the decision on which is the best approach should be individualised and discussed with the patient,” he said.

“vNOTES won’t replace our alternative approaches to hysterectomy but it is a fantastic option for our patients.

“Mater has also implemented an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Program for certain patients undergoing gynaecological procedures, including vNOTES hysterectomies, to provide select patients the option of going home on the same day as surgery,” he said.

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