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Expanding Options for Minimally Invasive Surgery

UH Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Division provides advanced expertise in minimally invasive treatments for benign, complex gynecologic conditions

Innovations in Obstetrics & Gynecology - Spring 2018

Megan Billow, MD


Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center will expand its Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Division. Led by Megan Billow, DO, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the division consists of fellowship-trained surgeons who focus on performing minimally invasive surgeries for benign, complex gynecologic conditions, including:

  • Large fibroid uterus. Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths on the uterus, are common in reproductive-aged women. Fibroids can differ in size and cause varying degrees of pain and bleeding. The UH Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery team has advanced expertise in minimally invasive surgical approaches for hysterectomy and myomectomy.
  • Advanced stage endometriosis. In advanced stages, endometriosis affects a patient’s ovaries as well as other organs in the pelvis. Endometrial tissue that grows outside of the uterus can cause severe pain, bleeding, pain during intercourse and other symptoms. UH minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons are trained in advanced laparoscopic techniques to remove endometrial tissue in patients with advanced stage endometriosis.
  • Chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain can have many different causes, such as chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids and endometriosis. Once the problem has been diagnosed, UH minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons will be able to address the issue through minimally invasive means.
  • Pelvic masses. Benign pelvic masses can form in the ovaries, uterus or other areas of the pelvis. Though they are non-malignant, these masses can be symptomatic and disrupt patients’ lives. UH minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons use a laparoscopic approach to remove these masses, offering patients significant relief. Illustration

UH minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons also treat patients with multiple medical comorbidities, including obesity and history of multiple surgeries.

Traditional laparotomy surgeries for complex gynecologic conditions have increased surgical risks, even in the healthiest of patients. Minimally invasive techniques reduce this risk of complications.

“Minimally invasive surgery offers many benefits over traditional laparotomy surgery,” Dr. Billow says. “Benefits include faster recovery, smaller incisions, less postoperative pain and reduced surgical risk.”

With these benefits, patients can undergo procedures for complex gynecologic conditions and return to their daily lives much faster than they could after a procedure using traditional surgical approaches.

The reduced need for narcotic pain medications is another significant benefit, particularly in view of the national opioid crisis. Minimally invasive approaches result in a less painful recovery, which means physicians won’t need to prescribe patients long courses of opioids, if they require any at all.

UH is dedicated to finding new, innovative ways to treat patients, and the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Division is another way the health system demonstrates that commitment.

Surgery can be very risky for patients living with multiple comorbidities, but complex gynecologic conditions such as Stage IV endometriosis cannot go untreated. Minimally invasive techniques reduce these risks for patients with comorbidities and/or a history of multiple surgeries, as well as for otherwise healthy patients.

“Minimally invasive surgery is becoming increasingly prevalent across nearly all specialties of medicine, and UH remains at the forefront of that trend,” Dr. Billow says. “Through the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Division, we can provide the majority of patients with a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open surgery and help them return to their lives much faster.”

To refer a patient with a complex, benign gynecologic condition, contact the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Division by calling 440-720-3250 (select option 1, then select option 1 again).