Cynthia's Surgery Story
Although not many people talk about them, miscarriages are relatively common. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies result in a miscarriage. That fact, however, doesn’t make the experience any easier. For Cynthia, 43, an unplanned pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage also helped her discover a potentially life-threatening health issue.
After her miscarriage, Cynthia was referred to Monique Brotman, DO, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist at West Suburban Medical Center, for a dilation and curettage (D&C). A D&C is used to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage. But, after her D&C, the bleeding that Cynthia was experiencing did not go away as anticipated.
“After several attempts to stop Cynthia’s post miscarriage bleeding, we were not able to with conservative measures,” explains Dr. Brotman. She diagnosed Cynthia with dysfunctional uterine bleeding, a broad term for vaginal bleeding occurring outside of regular menstrual cycle. Dr. Brotman recommended another test to see if there was something more serious going on.
“Dr. Brotman ordered an ultrasound,” says Cynthia. “That was when they discovered fibroids in my uterus.”
A Range of Surgical Options
Because of her fibroids, Cynthia’s bleeding was unlikely to stop without the removal of her uterus.
“Cynthia shared that she didn’t want to have biological children,” explains Dr. Brotman, who recommended a single-site incision hysterectomy using the da Vinci® Si Surgical System. With the help of the robotic system, surgeries such as Cynthia’s can be performed using a single incision in the belly button, leaving no visible scar after the belly button heals.
“The robotic system allows us to perform much more complicated procedures in a much less invasive way,” explains Dr. Brotman. “In the past, if a patient was in a similar situation to Cynthia's, requiring hysterectomy, she might have had a traditional surgery, or open procedure. Likely, she would have stayed in the hospital for three days and her recovery time would have been about six weeks.”
The ability to have the procedure done in a minimally invasive way was important to Cynthia.
“I am a teacher,” says Cynthia. “I chose the single-incision hysterectomy because the recovery time was only around two weeks. I was able to schedule my surgery so that I could recover over Spring Break. On my surgery day, I arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m., and I was walking out the door by 3:30 in the afternoon.”
A Personalized Touch
After surgery, it was important to Cynthia to have close contact with Dr. Brotman as she recovered.
“I’ve seen Cynthia a number of times since the surgery,” says Dr. Brotman. “I see all my patients within a week or two after their procedure.”
“I’ve never had surgery before,” explains Cynthia. “So, I wanted to be sure that every single little thing that was happening to me was normal. I really liked that Dr. Brotman was accessible. She’s the first doctor I’ve ever had who gave me her cell phone number. I could call her up on a Sunday night with concerns and she was OK with that. Now I’m three months after the surgery and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal.”