New technique for hysterectomy

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One-third of American women will have a hysterectomy by the time they turn 60. Traditionally, this has been an invasive procedure requiring weeks of down time. Now, the times and procedure have changed drastically.

For the past two decades, Dr. Steven McCarus with Florida Hospital Celebration Health has seen and performed numerous "open" hysterectomies.  "Hysterectomy, traditionally, has always been done by the abdominal root," says Dr. McCarus, "as a matter of fact, about 66 percent of hysterectomies are done through a large incision."

But the post-op pain and long recovery time pushed Dr. McCarus to rethink the method for this procedure performed more than half a million times each year in the U.S. alone.  "In 2006," he says, "I branded my technique, the 'McCarus Technique' for a laparoscopic hysterectomy using harmonic energy."

The harmonic energy eliminates the burning of tissue through electricity. Instead, the tissue is heated at a lower temperature, allowing the uterus to disengage without the trauma.  "With the development of harmonic energy, it was quickly realized that if we could coagulate - meaning heat tissue and not devascularize tissue, this would be a better technique for women's surgery," says Dr. McCarus.

Now, this technique has made its way to Southwest Louisiana as Dr. McCarus works with Drs. Matt Scroggs, William Groves and David Darbonne at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women to provide a new surgical option to women.  "It enables us to take patients that we normally would have to open their tummy to perform a hysterectomy and perform it in a minimally invasive manner," says Dr. Darbonne.

Rather than slicing through the belly to reach the uterus, a slim, lighted telescope with a camera is inserted through three dime sized incisions.  "One at the belly button," says Dr. McCarus, "and two lower incisions that we do keyhole surgery to remove the uterus."

The McCarus Technique for minimally-invasive hysterectomy has been offered locally for about a month and Dr. Darbonne says the results have been great.  "Our patients have done very well," he says, "they're able to go home early the next day and have been able to use a minimal amount of pain medication."

While some women will still need the traditional open hysterectomies, the minimally-invasive technique is an option for a wide range of women.  To find out if you're a candidate for this procedure, call Memorial Hospital for Women at 480-7000.

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