Dr. Heidi Wittenberg of the Urogynecology Center of San Francisco recently performed da Vinci robotic surgery on a patient suffering from uterine fibroids. Dr. Wittenberg kindly agreed to a quick Q&A to explain uterine fibroid removal, why it was necessary and how the patient’s quality of life has drastically improved.
Q: What kind of symptoms was the patient experiencing?
A: The symptoms of uterine fibroids can vary from woman to woman, but most typically experience heavy or severe menstrual bleeding, dizziness, fatigue, bloating, constipation and frequent urination. In the case of this patient, she experienced all the above symptoms because of the size and location of her fibroid.
Q: How can fibroid size and location impact a person’s quality of life?
A: For this patient, her fibroid was very large and could have been compared to a 5-6-month pregnancy. She is a single mother of three children and a nurse, so the combination of symptoms noted earlier were seriously impacting her quality of life and ability to get from one day to another.
Q: Why was da Vinci robotic surgery used in this case?
A: The patient’s doctor initially proposed removing the fibroid through the traditional surgical method which requires a large incision that results in a longer recovery period, more discomfort/pain post-surgery and a higher risk for complications. She was relieved to learn that the size and location of her fibroid meant it could be performed using the da Vinci surgical system. Using the laparoscopic method, patients can return to work/daily life much more quickly. In this patient’s case, she returned home to rest only two hours after the procedure, which only lasted 2.5 hours in total.
We invite you to learn more about uterine fibroids by checking out another Q&A with Dr. Wittenberg, “Do I Have Uterine Fibroids? A Q&A with Dr. Wittenberg”.