“It started with back pain and heavy bleeding a few years ago,” said Samaria Bey of the Logan department in Philadelphia.
Month after month, Bey’s pain worsened until she could barely function. Tests showed that uterine fibroids were the cause.
“Two really big ones that they could see on ultrasound,” she said.
Fibroids are benign tumors that develop in or around the uterus. Most women will develop at least one of childbearing age, but only half will experience symptoms.
Black women often develop more and larger fibroids, and at a younger age. Birth control pills can temporarily reduce the size and discomfort. But with her adult children and after exploring many other options, Bey opted for a minimally invasive hysterectomy at Temple Health.
“I think both healthcare providers and women aren’t really aware of how much we can do minimally invasively,” said Dr. Patricia Mattingly.
Drs. Mattingly and Isabel Eisner specialize in laparoscopic and robotic interventions. They believe that around 80 women facing gynecological surgery are candidates for this approach.
“Robotic surgery enables us to do things that are usually more complicated, but still minimally invasive,” says Eisner.
“The recovery time is greatly reduced. We’re talking 2 to 4 weeks compared to 4 to 8 weeks,” Mattingly said.
“In addition, the risk of blood loss during the operation is lower,” said Eisner.
Bey said the doctors found more fibroids during the operation. She is now pain free and has no regrets about her hysterectomy.
“It’s the same as having a failed appendix that you take out? Yes, ”said Bey.
Bey and her doctors said women facing gynecological surgery should get a second opinion and find a surgical team they are comfortable with, just as they would look for a new car or home.
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