First hysterectomy in Scotland through the tummy button

February 2010

Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh has recently performed the first single incision total laparoscopic hysterectomy in Scotland when 45 year old Sandra Henderson from Lanarkshire underwent the procedure to put an end to her heavy periods and discomfort.

Only 50% of women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding and menstrual problems seek help from their GP. Sandra had suffered from shooting pains for over a year, but was only spurred into action after she discovered a large mass at the entrance of her womb.

After visiting her GP who diagnosed the cause of her problems to be an enlarged uterus, Sandra was referred to her local hospital where an initial consultation led her to believe that it could potentially be life-threatening. With her private medical insurance, Sandra was keen to resolve it quickly and subsequently was referred to consultant gynaecologist and laparoscopic specialist, Mr Cameron Martin at Spire Murrayfield Hospital.

Mr Martin, explains: “An enlarged uterus is often the result of fibroids which often necessitates surgery. Sandra was keen to have laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to guarantee that she wouldn’t have any recurring problems in the future. Having completed her family, a laparoscopic hysterectomy was a valid option for her. At our first consultation, we discussed the option of single incision surgery through the tummy button which reduces the number of small telescope incisions from three to just one. There is just one small scar and there appears to be a quicker post-operative recovery. After a detailed explanation of the procedure, Sandra readily agreed to it.”

Single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) is a new procedure which is appropriate for select patients and involves a small incision in the tummy button and the insertion of special instruments including a telescope to enable surgery. In Sandra’s case, her womb and cervix were removed in a two hour operation that took place on the 2nd October 2009. She was kept in for close observation before being discharged 36 hours later. Within four weeks of surgery, Sandra returned to full-time work and her hobbies of horse-riding and running.

Sandra concludes: “The operation was a complete success and I was amazed by the fact that I couldn’t see any visible scaring and didn’t feel any pain or discomfort post-operatively. I even popped back into work a week after the operation, much to the shock of my colleagues! While surgery is a very daunting prospect for anyone, I have absolutely no regrets. When I think back to the unnecessary anxiety that this was causing, the surgery has given me the reassurance that I won’t have to suffer in silence again."

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