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What is Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy?

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Laparoscopically-assisted vaginal hysterectomy, or LAVH, is a procedure that allows a surgeon to remove a woman's uterus by inserting a laparoscope to view the pelvic organs, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors perform the surgery by inserting long, slender surgical instruments through abdominal incisions, followed by removal of the uterus through an incision in the vagina. Physicians typically recommend a laparoscopically-assisted vaginal hysterectomy if there is scar tissue on the pelvic organs as a result of endometriosis or former surgeries.

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Patients receive general anesthesia or a spinal block prior to undergoing the procedure, states Mayo Clinic. A member of the surgical team cleans a woman's surgical area with a sterile solution while the patient is laying on her back. A urinary catheter may be inserted to empty the bladder.

A surgeon clamps the uterine blood vessels and disconnects the uterus from its connective tissue using a laparoscope, according to Mayo Clinic. After removing the uterus through the vagina, doctors use absorbent stitches to control bleeding in the pelvis. Instead, an enlarged uterus is cut into smaller pieces and removed in sections so long as no sign of uterine cancer is evident. In cases of severe endometriosis or pelvic scar tissue, a vaginal hysterectomy may be impossible.

A patient no longer has her menstrual cycle or the ability to become pregnant after a laparoscopically-assisted vaginal hysterectomy, notes Mayo Clinic.

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