Fibroids: What Is The Right Approach For Treatment?

When it comes to fibroids, the struggle is real. Symptoms like pain and bleeding can be severe, they can result in tiredness and anemia from blood loss, and can disrupt your whole life. Many are embarrassed to speak up, only to discover when they finally do that other women experience similar symptoms, and struggle to find relief.

Smiling young girl drinking tea and writing

LETTING FIBROIDS GROW IS DANGEROUS

Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York City recently opened up about her GYN health and how fibroids have affected her life. When she was initially diagnosed a few years back she was told fibroids are common and surgery was not necessary. Years later she got to the point where she had experienced a miscarriage and was suffering from iron deficiency due to very heavy GYN bleeding. It’s important to know fibroids tend to grow and even small fibroids can become very large and can cause severe symptoms. The earlier symptoms are addressed, the less invasive surgery is, and if fertility is desired, the uterus can be better preserved.

Anemia from heavy GYN bleeding due to uterine fibroids can lead to potentially life-threatening complications like congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and/or heart attack. More on the dangers of anemia here. Large fibroids can also damage other delicate structures in the pelvis, they can affect kidneys and impact circulation. More about the lesser known risks of fibroids here.


FIBROID TREATMENT WITH MINIMALLY INVASIVE APPROACH

When surgical treatment is indicated, fibroids can be removed through hysterectomy, which is definitive treatment as they will not grow back, or myomectomy, which is fibroid removal surgery with preservation of the uterus, for women who still wish to conceive. Fibroids will grow back after a myomectomy and additional surgery may be necessary. Thorough and safe removal is very important with a myomectomy as the uterus needs to be repaired correctly so it can hold a growing baby. Even small fibroids should be removed to allow for a successful pregnancy and longer relief without the need for additional surgery.

Either fibroid removal procedure can be performed with safe, minimally invasive approach to allow the patient to get back to her routine within days rather than weeks. With the advancement of laparoscopic techniques, open GYN surgery, with up to 2 months recovery time, is no longer necessary.

When Bethenny shared her journey dealing with fibroids on ABC’s Good Morning America, she spoke about her inpatient open myomectomy with 3 days in the hospital and a long post-operative recovery of 6 weeks. Women should know, open myomectomy is no longer necessary. Fibroid removal, with preservation of the uterus, can be performed with laparoscopic approach, leading to a much faster recovery. With the LAAM (Laparoscopic Assisted Abdominal Myomectomy) procedure, fibroids of any size and number are removed with 2 small incisions, and recovery is 10-14 days. This is also an inpatient procedure, which due to the minimally invasive technique, does not require any hospital stay.


SURGERY WITH AN OB/GYN VS A GYN SPECIALIST

A woman’s relationship with her OB/GYN is very important. The OB/GYN is an obstetrician, a primary care physician, an office gynecologist, and a part-time fertility specialist, oncologist, and surgeon. While there is no other specialty comparable to that of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the primary focus of OB/GYN is not GYN surgery. When it comes to complex GYN conditions and surgical treatment, it’s best to seek the opinion of a specialist, who performs an increased volume of surgeries and this way maintains and develops surgical skills and expertise, perfecting the approach.

At CIGC, we work closely with our patients’ regular OB/GYNs, who often refer their patients to us for advanced minimally invasive surgical treatment of conditions like fibroids and endometriosis. Valinda Nwadike, MD, an OB/GYN based in Southern Maryland who has been referring patients to us for over a decade, recently decided to undergo herself laparoscopic hysterectomy with the innovative DualPortGYN technique at CIGC. She is now saying:

“I would recommend DualPortGYN to anyone. It is the procedure women deserve. It’s revolutionary. If you laid out all the types of hysterectomy that women can have side by side, why wouldn’t you choose this? I was showing my teeny incisions to my colleagues and they were amazed. They all have the CIGC number now and are making appointments.”

You can read her full story here: OBGYN Chooses CIGC For Laparoscopic Hysterectomy


GET A GYN EVALUATION

Women looking to get evaluated by CIGC’s advanced surgical specialists Dr. Paul J. MacKoul MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants MD can call 888-SURGERY or book an appointment online. Out-of-town patients travel to the Washington DC area for minimally invasive GYN surgery through our travel program. CIGC has offices in Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA.


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Heather’s Story: A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Handled With Care

hsewell-headshotCIGC’s hysterectomy patient Heather S. from Ashburn, VA is dealing with a rare genetic condition called Dercum’s Disease. Pain associated with this disease is caused by growths consisting of fatty tissue that press on nearby nerves and it can be severe.

“The condition has mutated my nervous system. I have five to ten times the nerve endings. Everything is surprisingly painful and leads to so many complications. For instance, it takes more medication than normal to knock me out for surgery.” she said.

MINIMALLY INVASIVE GYN SURGERY AT CIGC

Heather came to us with severe GYN symptoms. She had a laparoscopic hysterectomy and is doing well. Her case however was complicated. Before having her surgery, she was in terrible pain and could not walk for more than 5 minutes at a time.

“My lower back felt like it was being crushed and the inside of my pelvis felt like it was being shredded.” Heather said.

The hysterectomy showed Heather had been suffering from endometriosis for years.

“I’ve had irregular periods my entire life. When Dr. MacKoul did the surgery, he found scar tissue and adhesions everywhere. He suspected that I had endometriosis for over 10 years. He felt that something must have snapped or pinched a nerve, which is why I was having so much pain. I had pelvic adhesive resection, and a full hysterectomy with the ovaries removed.”

Because of the blizzard in January, Heather almost didn’t make it to the hospital.

“My neighborhood got buried in 4 ft of snow. The hospital didn’t have as much snow, so they weren’t prepared to reschedule. Because of my condition, I couldn’t walk for more than a few minutes. My poor mother, knowing how bad my pain had become, was determined that I wasn’t going to miss my surgery. She got the Loudon County Fire and Rescue to come out at four o’clock in the morning!”

FEELING BETTER AFTER DUALPORTGYN HYSTERECTOMY

After her minimally invasive hysterectomy, Heather’s pain started to go away.

“The pelvic pain has gone away since surgery. I started to feel good after a week. To give you an idea of how complicated my underlying condition is, I had a procedure a few years ago to remove a mediport, a simple I/V implant in my chest. I ended up in the hospital for 10 days just for pain control. But, thanks to Dr. MacKoul’s impressive familiarity with my rare condition and his skill with the minimally invasive hysterectomy, I was able to go home the next day. The incisions aren’t noticeable, they are barely even there.”

At CIGC, we perform laparoscopic hysterectomy using the DualPortGYN technique: two 5 MM incisions and 1 week recovery time. Because of the minimally invasive approach and location of the incisions (between the abdominal muscles), pain and bleeding is avoided and women get back to themselves faster.

HEATHER’S PASSION & GETTING BACK TO HERSELF

Heather also shared with us some details about her passion and being able to get back to what she loves.

“When I was 13 the first Harry Potter book came out. All my friends were suddenly really excited about reading again. I thought maybe I could transform that into a love of writing too. Soon after, I started the Daily Prophet, an online fictional newspaper where kids volunteered to be columnists. I ended up tutoring 400 kids worldwide and a few adults in creative writing. With my business, I wanted to replicate the same newspaper writing platform in middle schools. Teachers could create custom newspapers for their classrooms with various templates that capture each student’s pop culture passion using their love of books, movies or video games to develop an equal love for writing. I was getting quite far with it.

I had a meeting with Scholastic up in New York last year, but I had to fight through the excruciating pelvic pain to get up there. I finally realized that I couldn’t do it anymore because of the pain. Given my chronic health condition, my health is so fragile anyway. I knew I had to find something where I don’t have to travel much, or chase after venture capitalists for funding to make it happen. Being an entrepreneur is fantastic, but I couldn’t keep risking my health. I realized, I’ve spent so many years sharing my love for writing by helping other writers. Now’s the time to finally focus on my own writing by creating an original novel I’ve been dreaming about for years.”

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

If you would like to book a consultation to discuss you GYN symptoms with minimally invasive GYN surgeons of CIGC Paul MacKoul MD and Natalya Danilyants MD, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. CIGC has offices in Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA. Patients who reside outside the Washington DC area can look into our travel program.

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DualPortGYN Hysterectomy: Live Webinar May 18th @ 8 PM

Join me and Dr. Natalya E. Danilyants, MD on May 18th @ 8 PM for an interactive live webinar on DualPortGYN ‪hysterectomy: a safer & less invasive hysterectomy using two 5 MM incisions and 1 week recovery time. Our former patient Michelle will participate to talk about the procedure she had in December 2015 and how she has been feeling since.

It’s important to know hysterectomy surgery doesn’t have to be a painful or invasive procedure. There are safer options, with better recovery, that women should be aware of. During the event, we will answer your questions. We encourage all participants to submit their questions during or prior to the webinar. Click this link to register today and save your spot: Register Now! A Safer Hysterectomy Webinar, May 18th

Hysterectomy Webinar

At CIGC, we focus on highly advanced surgical techniques to perform minimally invasive GYN surgery with 2 small incisions and recovery in days rather than weeks. To find out more about our approach to GYN surgery, see the DuaPortGYN and LAAM pages on InnovativeGYN.com


If you are looking to get a GYN evaluation with a CIGC specialist Paul MacKoul MD or Natalya Danilyants MD, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. To read our patients’ feedback, go to patient review sites: Dr. Paul MacKoul Reviews | Dr. Natalya Danilyants Reviews

Rashetta’s Story: Minimally Invasive Removal of Large Fibroids is Possible

RashettaCIGC patient Rashetta from Washington DC first found out she had fibroids in college. A cyst on her ovary ruptured and she had to go to the hospital. On a follow-up ultrasound, Rashetta found out that she also had fibroids.

About 70-80% of women will get fibroids by age 50. Fibroids affect African American women 2 to 3 times more frequently than white and Hispanic women. Also, African American women are more likely to develop problems with fibroids at an earlier age, with the fibroids growing faster, becoming larger, and causing more bleeding and anemia than in women of other races.

THE WATCH AND WAIT METHOD FOR LARGE FIBROIDS DOESN’T WORK

“For years I saw the same doctor, waiting and watching my fibroids grow, and for a while, the pain wasn’t altering my daily activities. But then, the pain got progressively worse. I found myself in bed, crying in pain.”

Many doctors advise their patients to delay surgery if fibroids aren’t bothering them. The problem with fibroids, especially large fibroids is that they will continue to grow and frequently cause serious damage to the uterus. For women who wish to maintain fertility, avoiding to remove the fibroid when it is first discovered can lead to far worse symptoms down the line.

MINIMALLY INVASIVE MYOMECTOMY FOR LARGE FIBROIDS

A friend of Rashetta’s had a procedure with Paul MacKoul MD and told her that a minimally invasive myomectomy for a large fibroid is possible with this surgeon.

“I was hesitant to change, because my doctor knew my history, but I figured it couldn’t have hurt to have a conversation with him,” said Rashetta. “Even from my first consultation, the feeling that you get when you first meet someone and feel comfortable, that’s how I felt. When I first met him and he walked me through the procedure, he was so thorough. He drew out what was going on with my fibroids, and I realized in talking to him that I shouldn’t have done the watch and wait approach.”


The LAAM technique developed by minimally invasive GYN surgeons of The Center for Innovative GYN Care uses only 2 small incisions to safely remove fibroids of any size. LAAM is an important development, as it allows the surgeons to feel all of the fibroids. Patients return to themselves post surgery within 2 weeks.

 “I planned to be off for 2 weeks, and I can work from home, so while I stayed home for 3 weeks, I was back working after 2. That was a far cry from the 2-3 months the other doctor told me. The first couple of days after a myomectomy are painful. And I needed someone to be at home with me for that.”

RAISING AWARENESS OF FIBROIDS & MINIMALLY INVASIVE FIBROID REMOVAL

Rashetta’s journey has brought The White Dress Project in Washington DC and she now heads the DC chapter, raising awareness of fibroids and minimally invasive fibroid surgery.

 “I really feel like I was meant to work with this organization. It’s an issue that not a lot of people want to talk about and there isn’t a lot of awareness. I have a friend that is just now scheduling the surgery. She knows that I’m involved with The White Dress project, and I’m going to sit down with her and give her as much support as I can. But, if any woman has questions (about fibroids or minimally invasive surgery) don’t be afraid to ask Dr. MacKoul.”

BOOK A CONSULT

Call 888-SURGERY or visit us online to schedule a consult with a fibroid specialist of CIGC. Out-of-town patients can benefit from innovative GYN procedures at CIGC through our travel program.

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The Leaders in Raising Awareness of the Fibroids Crisis

We are in a fibroids crisis, and they are being treated by many medical practitioners as though they are the equivalent to a headache. Watch and wait. “If they aren’t bothering you, you don’t need to do anything about them” is a common phrase uttered in exam rooms. It dismisses the fact that fibroids can, and very often grow to sizes that can disrupt plans for having a family.

Fibroids-Article-CompositeIt is not as well known that fibroids have been responsible for infertility, miscarriage, and forced emergency Cesarean deliveries. For many women with fibroids,  the journey towards motherhood can be challenging and often filled with heartache and loss.

The leaders in raising fibroid awareness are aiming to provide access to the most up-to-date information about treating these tumors. From legislation, to support forums, to fertility coaching, women with fibroids trying to get pregnant can now find experienced, state-of-the-art options that weren’t available when their mothers struggled. Learn more about these efforts in CIGC’s recent blog: Barrier To Motherhood: Raising Awareness Of The Fibroids Crisis


CIGC minimally invasive GYN surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve surgical results. Get to know us on InnovativeGYN.com and through online patient reviews: Dr. Paul MacKoul Reviews | Dr. Natalya Danilyants Reviews

 

Watch The Leaders in Endometriosis Support & Research

More than 5M women in the U.S. struggle with endometriosis, a complex GYN condition causing severe pain with every monthly cycle. It is an often misunderstood disease and it can affect personal relationships, work, self esteem, and fertility. Unless endometriosis is experienced first hand, it is hard to convey just how all consuming the symptoms are.Endo-Champion-bannerGeneral practitioners and OBGYNs may dismiss the severity of the symptoms and classify severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding as normal. The number of medical professionals who are experienced at diagnosing and skilled at effectively removing endometriosis are limited. There is a great need for research, awareness and better medical training.

Top organizations in endometriosis support & research provide the most up-to-date information available and they have been drawing together to get more recognition for endometriosis within the medical industry. Keep an eye on the leaders: Endometriosis Foundation of AmericaEndometriosis Research Center, Nancy’s Nook on Facebook, EndoSupport, and The Endometriosis Network Canada. See the full round-up by The Center for Innovative GYN Care on our official blog: ENDOMETRIOSIS CHAMPIONS: THE FUTURE OF THE FIGHT.


CIGC minimally invasive GYN surgeons Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD perform endometriosis excision (endometriosis resection) using only two 5MM incisions with DualPortGYN. Endometriotic implants and lesions are thoroughly removed in an outpatient setting, allowing women to return to their lives faster, with less pain. To schedule your appointment, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online.

Public Education Campaign “Uncovered: The Truth About GYN Surgery”

uncovered-logo-vertical(cut2)Findings from a new survey commissioned by The Center for Innovative GYN Care revealed that over 50% of American women are unclear about GYN conditions and surgical procedures. Many women have trouble understanding what happens with their bodies. Over 1.6 million in the U.S. alone need GYN surgery annually, but very few know what’s at stake.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), up to 80% of women will have fibroids by age 50, and over 5 million women suffer from endometriosis. Understanding how these conditions affect overall health is essential for women so they are able to make decisions about treatment. The 2015 study served to clarify knowledge gaps women might have about common GYN conditions and treatment options that are available to them.

Read the press release to find out more about the findings of the survey and the newly launched public education campaign “Uncovered: The Truth About GYN Surgery”  Get the most up to date information about GYN conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and procedures like myomectomies and hysterectomies on GYNSurgeryInfo.org