Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First laparoscopic ovarian cancer staging procedure performed at Northwest Hospital in Baltimore

Gynecological surgeon David Zisow, M.D., recently performed a laparoscopic procedure to stage a case of ovarian cancer at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown – a first for the hospital. Laparoscopic staging is a procedure that is commonly performed at academic medical centers but rarely at a community hospital like Northwest.

Cancer staging involves a sampling of various body tissues for biopsy and is done to determine the extent and severity of the disease. Ordinarily, women who present with possible ovarian cancer must undergo an extensive and invasive surgical procedure, involving an incision that runs from the bottom of the sternum to the top of the pubic bone. By using the minimally invasive technique, Dr. Zisow was able to take these tissue samples by making five keyhole incisions, each smaller than half an inch.

“It’s becoming more and more evident that patient recovery time is dependent upon the size of the external incisions rather than what is actually done internally to the body,” says Dr. Zisow. “We can perform major surgeries internally, and as long as we make only keyhole-sized incisions, recovery time is reduced.”

It can take six to eight weeks to recover from a traditional ovarian staging procedure. It can take as long as three months before the patient can resume vigorous activity. With the laparoscopic approach, however, the patient can be back to work within just one week and can be doing physically strenuous activity in three weeks.

Good candidates for laparoscopic ovarian and endometrial cancer staging include women who present with early cancer or tumors with low malignant potential and are not obese. If the cancer is suspected to be at a later stage, the procedure is still best done with a large incision.

The procedure was made possible because of Dr. Zisow’s skill with the straight stick laparoscope, which restricts surgeon movement to just three degrees of freedom or movement compared to seven degrees for traditional surgery without a scope.

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