Groundbreaking surgery performed by Geisinger surgeon

Special to the Sun-Gazette

DANVILLE – Dr. Ira Stanley Frye, director of the obstetrics/gynecology residency clinic at Geisinger Health System, recently performed the system’s first single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

The procedure was the first in the U.S. and the second worldwide to utilize an Ethicon electric surgical device manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, which uses a small, 5 millimeter unit.

A hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The patient, Mindy Hawkins, of Bloomsburg, underwent the procedure July 23 and was discharged within 24 hours without any complications. By utilizing the minimally invasive SIL technique with the 5 millimeter Ethicon device, Dr. Frye needed just a single, one-centimeter incision. Traditional laparoscopic and robotic techniques use as many as five incisions or one abdominal incision that can range up to 10 centimeters in length.

“As excited as we are to utilize this technique with this device for the first time in the United States, we are even more thrilled to see the benefits this will provide patients right here in northeastern and central Pennsylvania,” Frye said. “This method of surgery for hysterectomy and removal of ovaries provides patients with shorter recovery times and fewer scars without sacrificing results.”

Surgery for removal of uterus and ovaries can be performed for several different reasons, including cancerous and non-cancerous tumors or cysts, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, pelvic pain, endometriosis, or as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in this country, and approximately 20 million American women have undergone them.

“Because of the frequency with which many surgeons perform this procedure, being able to do it in such a minimally invasive way that results in shorter hospital stays truly cements the team at Geisinger as one of the most progressive, patient-focused organizations in the country,” Frye said.