Beaufort Memorial’s Living Well Blog brings health and wellness to Lowcountry living.

Janet Cleland’s Hysterectomy Story

Posted by Surgical Services Team on Apr 10, 2017 1:24:31 PM

It may be part of being a woman, but the menstrual cycle shouldn’t keep you from enjoying life. Using new techniques and technology, gynecologists can offer patients relief from period pain.

Janet Cleland was fed up with her troublesome menstrual cycles. The debilitating symptoms kept her from hiking, biking, kayaking and doing all the other outdoor activities she enjoys. “I was just miserable,” the Beaufort resident recalls. “I had profuse bleeding and I never knew when it was going to start, so I couldn’t do anything."


Janet began having period problems more than 10 years ago. On several occasions, the bleeding was so severe, she became anemic and nearly needed a blood transfusion. 

The culprit was fibroids. Pat Thompson, M.D., of Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists, removed the benign tumors, and Janet went back to having normal menstrual cycles. Then awhile later, the bleeding increased again. “I thought it was going to be the same issue, but it turned out a fibroid had gone through the wall of my uterus,” she says" “I needed a hysterectomy. I was devastated.”

When Thompson suggested single-site da Vinci surgery, the mother of two jumped at the chance to have one incision instead of the typical four or five required for traditional laparoscopic surgery. “I’m very vain,” Janet admits. “I work out and try to stay in shape. Hiding the incision in the belly button appealed to me.” 

But fibroids were only part of the problem" Once inside her abdomen, Thompson discovered Janet had endometriosis, multiple fibroids and cysts on both ovaries. “I had everything in there but a baby,” Janet quips.

Rather than the usual 90 minutes in the OR, it took Thompson five hours to perform the complex surgery. “The da Vinci’s wristed instruments make hard cases easier,” says Thompson, one of three Beaufort Memorial surgeons trained to perform the state-of-the-art surgery. “You can get around unusual angles and tight spaces. It’s much more difficult to do that with the straight sticks used in traditional laparoscopic surgery.”

In addition to offering more precise control and increased articulation, the robot is equipped with 3-D high-definition optics, offering 10 times the magnification of the operative field.

“It’s amazing what she was able to do through one tiny hole,” says Cleland. “She took out my cervix, my uterus, everything from A to Z. It was a miracle I had no scar after all that. And I only had to stay in the hospital overnight.”

If you’re tired of living with painful periods, call 843-522-7820 to schedule a consult with one of our OB-GYNs.

Photo courtesy of Fall 2015 Living Well.

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