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A Less Painful Hysterectomy

May 12, 2014, 6:17 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

A Less Painful Hysterectomy

53-year-old Kristi Miller has dreamed of being a grandmother for years.

"He's enthusiastic about everything. He likes to play," Miller said.

Whether it's playing Mr. Potato Head or putting together a puzzle, Miller relishes every moment with her first grandchild, two-year-old Tristin.

"He's kind of the spark in my life," Miller said.

But for several weeks Miller was not able to interact with Tristin as much as she would have liked. The Harrisburg area woman had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy all in one day.

"I was anxious of course," Miller said.

One positive for Miller is that her recovery from the hysterectomy wasn't as intense as many others. She was a candidate for a new procedure at Sanford called a single site hysterectomy. During the procedure, doctors only make one incision, instead of the previous four.

"We make an incision that's a little less than an inch right inside the belly button, and then we put a port through that little incision, and we do all the surgery through that port," Sanford Obstetrician-Gynecologist Dr. Erica Schipper said.

In addition to nearly no scarring, patients who have the single site hysterectomy procedure also often tend to recover quicker.

"We are finding they are not needing as many narcotics and often their pain is pretty well controlled mostly with Motrin," Schipper said.

Schipper says there's also less blood loss, and patients are usually back to work in two weeks, compared to the previous six weeks.

"I asked my family and said, 'Did I every complain about lower abdominal pain or anything like that,' and they said, 'No,'" Miller said.

While Miller feels like she's fully recovered from her hysterectomy, she's still on chemotherapy to battle stage 3 breast cancer. She hopes to beat the disease and spend many more years with her grandson.

"That's my hope and keeping my faith on that--that I'll be able to do that," Miller said.

With HealthBeat, I'm Casey Wonnenberg.

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