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Your gynecologist has recommended that you undergo surgery to remove vaginal fibroids. But what does that actually mean?
The uterus is part of a woman's reproductive system - it's the organ that contains and protects a growing fetus during pregnancy.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow from the inner or outer wall of the uterus. They are quite common - as many as 20% of women over 30 will develop fibroids sometime during their lifetimes.
In most cases fibroids do not cause any discomfort and are never detected. Occasionally, however, fibroid tumors can cause problems. Complications from fibroid growth can include:
* Pressure on the urinary system.
* Pressure on the intestines.
* Interference with the reproductive system
* Or infection.
Because these tumors can grow to be very large, surgery is usually recommended in order to restore health and to protect the uterus.
On the day of your operation, you will be asked to put on a surgical gown.
You may receive a sedative by mouth and an intravenous line may be put in.
You will then be transferred to the operating table.
To perform this procedure, your doctor will need unobstructed access to your uterus, so your feet will be raised, separated and placed in canvas slings - holding your legs in a position much like that position used during a routine gynecological exam. To begin, your genital area will be clipped or shaved and swabbed with an antiseptic solution and sterile towels are draped around until only the vulva is exposed.
Then the surgeon will use a gloved hand to conduct a vaginal examination and will check the size and location of the uterus by pressing on your lower abdomen.
Your doctor will then use a retractor to open the vagina.
Once the cervix is visible, a forceps is used to grasp the front lip of the cervix and to pull it forward - causing the uterus to open.
Through that opening, your doctor will insert an instrument called a hysteroscope.
A hysteroscope allows the surgical team to insert all necessary optical and surgical instruments into the uterus.
At the beginning of the procedure, a harmless gas or fluid will be introduced into the uterus, causing it to expand.
By inflating the uterus slightly, your doctor is better able to reach the operative site.
Next, a wire loop is inserted. This loop is used to grab the fibroid tissue and snip it free from the muscular wall of the uterus.
When your doctor is satisfied that all fibrous tissue has been removed, the hysteroscope and all other instruments are withdrawn. The gas or fluid is allowed to escape and the uterus returns to its normal shape.
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