Marcy Baum’s uterine fibroids weren’t life threatening, but they were holding her back from enjoying her active, on-the-go lifestyle.
“Just a nuisance” is the way the Norwalk, Ohio, resident describes the condition.
Uterine fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. In some cases, just a single tumor grows. In other cases, there are many of them. They can be as small as an apple seed or as large as a grapefruit.
The good news is that these tumors are almost always non-cancerous, which was the case for Marcy, as well.
The bad news is that, as Marcy says, they are annoying and often painful. Symptoms include heavy bleeding, painful periods, a constant feeling of fullness in the stomach, enlargement of the abdomen, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower back pain, and even complications during labor.
Treatment for uterine fibroids depends on a few different factors, including whether or not you plan to become pregnant and how close to menopause you may be. It also depends on the size and location of the fibroids.
Options include medication. Low-dose birth control pills can control heavy bleeding, while Leuprolide can actually help shrink the tumors. Over-the-counter pain medication can also be helpful.
But the only way to really cure the condition is a hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove the uterus. (It’s important to note that a hysterectomy does not push a woman into menopause unless her ovaries are removed.)
It used to be that an open hysterectomy was the only option, requiring six weeks of downtime and a long scar on the abdomen. That all began to change in the 70s and 80s with the development of laparoscopic surgery techniques. The result was minimally invasive surgery with less scarring and shorter recovery periods.
But now, there’s an even more advanced option—robotic-assisted hysterectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System. The surgery is performed entirely by your doctor, who controls the da Vinci System from a console in the room. So while you still have the benefit of your doctor’s years of experience, you also have the benefit of the robotic arms, which are able to bend and rotate far more than the hands of even the most gifted surgeon.
Marcy met with Dr. James Kasten to consider her options. “We talked about the robotic-assisted hysterectomy,” she says, “and that’s what we chose to do.”
Marcy arrived at Fisher-Titus Medical Center at 6 a.m. and was home by 1 p.m. “I’m back to doing everything I did before,” she says. “The robotic assisted hysterectomy is the easiest thing ever.”
Less scarring, shorter hospital stays, a quicker recovery, less bleeding and a lower risk of complications—those were all factors that led Marcy to choose robotic-assisted surgery.
“Having it done at Fisher-Titus Medical Center is the way to go,” she says.