Large uterine fibroids can be a debilitating condition, causing intense pain, heavy bleeding and abdominal swelling. Many women with large fibroids think open surgery is the only solution. But as amazing as this seems, says Dr. Andrew Moore, laparoscopic surgery often proves effective. “Four small incisions, and they’re able to go home the same day,” he says. “You’re changing their life.”
Dr. Andrew Moore is an OB/GYN in Midlothian, practicing at the St. Francis Medical Pavilion office of Virginia Women’s Center. Dr. Moore did his residency at the University of Louisville — “a premier training program for minimally invasive surgery,” he says — and performs around 100 surgeries each year. We asked him what women should know about this type of surgery.
What is laparoscopic surgery?
Instead of making a large incision, as in traditional surgery, a few small incisions are made and then plastic ports are placed in the incisions. Then, a camera and surgical instruments enter through the ports, allowing the surgeon to see inside a patient’s body and perform delicate operations.
Laparoscopic surgery is recommended for a range of gynecological and urological conditions, such as:
• Pelvic organ prolapse
• Ovarian cysts/tumors
• Ectopic pregnancies
• Pelvic pain
Minimally invasive surgical procedures can also be used for risk-reducing surgeries, Dr. Moore explains, in which women with a high hereditary risk for ovarian cancers may choose to have their ovaries removed. “As we learn more and more about hereditary cancers, we’re being more and more proactive,” he says.
The benefits of minimally invasive surgery
Minimally invasive surgery is characterized by less of everything: less scarring, less pain and less bleeding. Almost all of Dr. Moore’s patients are able to go home the same day after a laparoscopic procedure, he says, although “everybody’s recovery’s a bit different. We all have different pain thresholds and different reactions.”
Being able to recover at home isn’t just more comfortable — it can also speed recovery. The risk of infection is lower, and patients are happier when they can manage their own care, Dr. Moore says. While nurses and hospital staff provide attentive care, there’s nothing like going to your own fridge to make a sandwich when you’re hungry. Getting up and moving around decreases the risk of blood clots after surgery. Not only that, but both pain levels and bowel function improve more quickly at home, Dr. Moore says.
One additional advantage of minimally invasive surgery is cost. The procedure itself is typically less expensive, because it’s outpatient and no hospital stay is required. One overlooked benefit, Dr. Moore says, is that women are usually able to return to work quickly, allowing them to use less FMLA or personal leave.
Have questions about minimally invasive surgery? Make an appointment at Virginia Women’s Center to speak with Dr. Moore or another of our surgeons.
Dr. Moore enjoys caring for patients throughout the spectrum of women’s health including both low- and high- risk pregnancies. In addition, he is skilled in caring for women who experience diabetes or hypertension in pregnancy and has special interest in pelvic pain management as well as minimally invasive and vaginal surgery for gynecologic conditions.
Having grown up in Richmond, Dr. Moore is happy to be back in his hometown. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, playing golf, watching live music and sports as well as spending time with his wife, Christy, their dog, Solomon, and other family members and friends. Dr. Moore is active in his church and enjoys medical missions work. He served in Togo, Africa in 2011 and looks forward to future mission trips.