From the Outside In

If you search for “laparoscopic hysterectomy” on youtube, you’ll get a lot of videos that show the view from the laparoscope – the inside of an abdominal cavity.  You can watch as the instruments burn and tear away tissue while someone, likely not in English, describes what’s going on.  But I’ve been curious about how they start and end the whole thing – how are these incisions on my stomach so small if they put scissors and scalpels and cameras through there?  And how did they get everything out of there once they cut it away (I knew how but was having trouble visualizing it)?  Well, last night I found my answer.  A warning – I am pretty desensitized – human blood and guts doesn’t really gross me out (although I can’t watch animal blood and guts).  This video, however, did make me nauseous.

I still have some questions about this.

First, why is surgery so violent?  I’ve wondered this after seeing liposuction videos as well.  The way they cut, insert the instruments – nothing is gentle.  I’m amazed I don’t have more pain in my belly button or in the other abdominal incisions considering the way things were just shoved in there and pulled/pushed around.  I’m also amazed I have no hip or ankle pain after seeing the way my legs were strapped up into that contraption.  And I’m completely mortified to know that my entire crotch was hoisted up in the air for two hours, exposed to anyone who would have walked in/out of the room.

Second, how do they know they got all of the cells?  The way they snip and burn the tissue, it doesn’t look very neat.  I hope that this six minute video of a two-hour surgery just isn’t showing the part where they go in and really clean up in there to make sure all endometrial tissue has been removed.

Third, now I understand why I feel so gassy and have so much pressure in my pelvis – they pumped up my stomach like a bicycle tire!  But is there a reason that after the surgery, they can’t use the same instrument to suck out all of that extra air?  Crikey.  I’m also realizing that part of that pressure is probably soreness from the stitches.  That definitely didn’t look pretty.

When I had my DIEP reconstruction, I watched several videos before the surgery.  I was so fascinated by the whole thing and really curious to see how it was going to work.  Boy am I glad that I waited until after the hysterectomy to watch this video.  I can gaurentee they would have had to anesthetize me in the car on the way to the hospital if I knew what they were going to do when I got there.

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