This morning I scrubbed in for my first surgical procedure. It was a Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy. Doesn't ring a bell? Visit www.laparoscopicsupracervicalhysterectomy.com/ I am not kidding. I wonder if every procedure has its own website. That sure would be handy for junior medical students!
Anyway, the general process is to inflate the abdomen with air, separate the uterus from the abdominal wall, cut the body of the uterus from the cervix, cut the organ into little pieces and suck it out of the abdominal cavity through the belly button. The machine used to cut and suck is called the morcellator. This is really quite remarkable. Instead of being in the hospital for weeks, the woman can go home in a few days. She also retains important abdominal wall support and mucus producing tissue to prevent drying.
My attentive readers may recall that I am doing a family medicine rotation. What am I doing scrubbing in? My preceptor is a family med doc who takes obstetrical cases - these folks are becoming a rarity - and this was all in a day's work for her. My role in the operation was to dilate the cervix to an extent that an indwelling probe could be inserted to manipulate the uterus during the procedure. Then I watched the rest of the show from the anesthesiologist's station.
By the way, he was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle during the procedure.