March 19, 2012

SLUCare Gynecologists Perform 'Scarless' Hysterectomies

Single Incision in Belly Button Leaves No New Scar

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Leading-edge "scarless" hysterectomy surgery is now  available at SSM St. Mary's Health Center by SLUCare physicians Brigid Holloran-Schwartz, M.D., and Patrick Yeung Jr., M.D.  This innovative laparoscopic  procedure  requires only one incision in the belly button, which conceals any scar. 

Brigid Holloran-Schwartz, M.D.

An associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health, Schwartz leads the Saint Louis University School of Medicine's Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at SSM St. Mary's Health Center, which was created when Yeung, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health, joined the faculty.  Together, they now perform single-incision laparoscopic procedures for patients as well as teach these procedures to other physicians. 

"Our goal is to offer patients a one-stop center of expertise for the least invasive options for surgeries common in women," Schwartz said. "Most gynecologic procedures that treat common conditions such as fibroids -- even very large fibroids, ovarian cysts, painful periods and heavy periods -- can be treated in a less invasive fashion."

"I was surprised when Dr. Schwartz told me they would do this procedure with one incision," said Anna Carr, 44, who is among the first women in the region to benefit from a single-incision hysterectomy. "No one wants more incisions than absolutely necessary and one instead of three is pretty monumental."

Carr said she was aware of her option to have a more traditional minimally invasive hysterectomy, a procedure that includes three small incisions -- one in the belly button and two in the abdomen.

Patrick Yeung, M.D.

Single incision laparoscopic surgery, perhaps even more than multi-port laparoscopic surgery, offers patients many benefits,  including reduced recovery time, a shorter hospital stay, less pain and quicker return to everyday functions.  

Most patients resume regular activity in about a week and are frequently back to work within one to two weeks.   Additionally, this single-incision surgery hides the scar in the natural creases of the belly button for a "scarless" result.

Among women, hysterectomies are second only to C-Sections as the most common form of surgery. 

"Dr. Yeung and I have given up our obstetric practice and received additional training to focus our practice on minimally invasive gynecologic surgery," Schwartz said.  "Our high volume of procedures has allowed us to form a well trained gynecologic surgical team at SSM St. Mary's Health Center with excellent patient outcomes."

To make an appointment, call (314) 977-7455.

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