Milwaukee—November 21, 2007— Grace Janik, MD, Milwaukee gynecologist/reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist on staff at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospitals, presided over AAGL’s 36th Annual Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology last week in Washington, D.C. As president of the AAGL, the first and largest organization in the world dedicated to gynecologic endoscopic surgery, Dr. Janik is spearheading a national awareness campaign encouraging women to seek minimally invasive gynecologic procedures rather than traditional open surgeries.
Dr. Janik and her colleagues, report that minimally invasive procedures are transforming the practice of surgery, yet their adoption in certain specialties, particularly gynecology, lags far behind that of other specialties. For example, laparoscopic surgery for gall bladder removal reached an 80% adoption rate over the ten years since it was introduced, while laparoscopic hysterectomy is still used for less than 15% of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. Reasons for the discrepancy include lack of patient education, lack of physician training, reimbursement issues, and reluctance of women to question their doctors, she said.
Despite the availability of many new, less invasive treatments for gynecological problems, the majority of women do not benefit from these advances because they are not made aware these options exist. For example, a significant percentage of hysterectomies done annually in the U.S. may be avoidable through the use of minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of fibroids, AUB and other common conditions.
In addition, Dr. Janik and her group have developed advances in laparoscopic surgery that treat patients with chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis without having to perform a hysterectomy. “Over 85% of our patients will be pain free or pain controlled after laparoscopic surgery, even in a population of severe endometriosis patients with multiple previous surgeries before arriving at our center.”
Minimally invasive gynecologic procedures are now available for all gynecologic conditions including fibroids, incontinence and pelvic prolapse, gynecologic oncology, and tubal microsurgery.
The goal of the national awareness campaign is to encourage women to consider minimally invasive options.
“Women should not be afraid to ask for what they want or hesitate to pursue a second opinion.”