Hysterectomy is the most common non-pregnancy-related major surgery performed on women in the United States – and until recent innovations became widespread, it was quite a process.

Not your grandma’s hysterectomy

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Hysterectomy is the most common non-pregnancy-related major surgery performed on women in the United States – and until recent innovations became widespread, it was quite a process.

Grandma’s hysterectomy was a big deal -- not only was it open surgery, with a large incision that left a large and unattractive scar -- it also involved six to eight weeks of recovery.

“That means that after a hospital stay of up to a week, a woman was missing out on work, family events and being able to participate in daily life for quite a while,” said Dr. Lisbet Hanson, a gynecologic surgeon and Medical Director of the Sentara Women’s Health Center at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. 

“Today, with much smaller, minimally-invasive incisions, a woman who has a hysterectomy often goes home within 24 hours, and is back on her feet in five to ten days. She’s driving, able to move around, use a computer, attend social events and travel,” Dr. Hanson said.

Even more improvements are here today, with the introduction of the da Vinci robot at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital – using robotic techniques can significantly decrease post-operative pain, the length of recovery and the risks associated with surgery.

“This technique really gets women back to day-to-day life a lot faster and is an example of using technology in a way that improves the patient’s life while also making the surgeon’s work easier. It reduces blood loss and the chance of infection,” she said.

Dr. Hanson is the first surgeon in the area to achieve a certification in robotic surgery from the Surgical Review Corporation. This designates Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery and Minimally-Invasive Gynecology, which signifies consistently delivering the safest, highest-quality care. 

“Our team at the Sentara Women’s Health Center at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital is proud to achieve this accreditation. It motivates us to continue to strive for quality improvement in gynecologic surgery. But, most importantly, the health and well-being of our patients,” said Bernie Boone, president of Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Dr. Lisbet Hanson is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Medical Director of the Sentara Women’s Health Center at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.