Laparoscopy or Laparotomy??

I was told that I was having a Laparoscopy to remove both ovaries and tubes following a borderline Stage 1 diagnosis and now, due to lack of resources, I have got to have a Laparotomy. This has upset me quite a lot as I was not prepared mentally for such a large operation only just having got my head around the cancer. Any words of wisdom and reassurance would be most welcome!

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  • Hello!

    When I was first diagnosed, my gynaecologist told me that I would have a 'hysterectomy plus'. In the days between diagnosis and the scan results and further discussions; I spoke to my friend who had had a hysterectomy a year earlier. Hers was keyhole surgery, and - knowing no better- I assumed that therefore mine would be too.

    When I went in the day before the op to talk it through with my surgeon, he started to draw out exactly what he would be doing, and what would happen, depending upon exactly what he found when he had access. After a few moments, I said 'this isn't keyhole surgery, is it?' He was obviously slightly amused; 'no, this is extensive'. He went on to explain that firstly, during the op, he wanted to be able to see exactly what was going on inside me, and be as certain as possible that he could remove everything involved successfully. He also explained that there was a higher incidence of other vessels being damaged during keyhole surgery - something he did not want to risk.

    I was eventually reassured, and came away feeling I was in the hands of someone who had an extensive knowledge, had weighed up the possibilities, and who knew why they were deciding to do a laparotomy. I was relieved that he had all the answers, and that trust proved to be well founded as he told me on waking that he had 'got all of both my tumours' and 2 years + later, I am still well. I suppose for that reason, I tend to the view that it's better to have your surgeon with the ability to react to and remove any other areas of disease that might become apparent during the op.

    In the end, I recovered from my big op just as quickly as my friend had from her keyhole op. My scar might be bigger, but that is of little consequence to me.

    I wonder if you can discuss your feelings with your surgeon, and hear their views. I think this is common practice when you go in to consent to surgery - which you have to do - You can only 'consent' if you know to what you are consenting.

    Very best wishes,

    Isadora.

  • Hi Isadora and Heather, I hope you don't mind me replying to you together, so as to save repetition!

    I have received a message from the surgeon and it transpires that the reason I was being changed from a Laparoscopy to a Laparotomy was due to a lack of resources and qualfied surgeons! He has assured me that he is going to speak to the Laparospic??? surgeon to see what they can do - I will definitley speak to them though and find out if this is the best course of action for my health.

    I suppose I feel happier with Laparoscopy as I've already had one and kinda know what to expect - however, I have also had two ceasarians and that was awful but very similar sounding to the Laparotomy!

    Hopefully I'll have some news soon!!x

  • Hello

    Me again :)

    My first operation was a laparotomy and I was never given the option of anything else so I probably never really thought about it being a big operation - I was probably just relieved at that point that the surgeon was doing something and seemed very confident of a good outcome for me. One week after the operation I walked into my outpatients appointment and he said you would never have known what I had undergone as I was fully mobile, looking good and very relieved. I followed all the advice on aftercare and didn't hoover, drive, lift heavy things etc.

    My second operation was scheduled as a laporoscopy and I was going to be in and out in the same day but when they started the operation there was too much scar tissue and they had to open me up and do a second laparotomy. I was only in hospital for two night and since I had already done the recovery from a laparotomy I knew if I stuck to the advice I would be fine.

    I suppose with my story I am saying to you that there is no guarantee that even if you go in for a laporoscopy thats what you end up needing.

    I have two scars now, one laparotomy (yes they cleverly went in the same place) and one laporoscopy (which I which after 13 years are barely noticable and you would only see them if I pointed them out to you but if nothing else they remind me of the skill of my surgeon and I am thankfull I felt his confidence during our consultation and was happy to go with his plan.

    Talk to your surgeon and as Isadora said you have to consent.

    Heather

    x

  • Hi there,

    I can only just echo what is above - like the other ladies I've had both laporoscopy (for diagnosis) then laporotomy, and in my case the doctors said laporotomy would be far preferable as they can get much better access and check visually whether the disease has spread. For me the recovery from the laporotomy was a little longer than the scope, but it sounds if you are stage 1b like my disease was far more advanced - and the ladies above seem to have bounced back far more quickly. I can understand why you are upset! To be told a decision has been made on the grounds of resources must be upsetting, but you are doing the best thing by challenging and asking them why etc, and as the girls above say, they need to discuss all this with you before 'consenting you'. I imagine you have told them how difficult you found recovery from caesarean? They should be able to discuss what may possibly be similar and what different in this case. As a layperson it would strike me that they are not trying to remove something as large as a baby...so presumably the op would not really be that similar? Obviously I'm not a doc but you do the right thing when you ask, ask, ask...

    all the very best, keep us posted!

    love

    Cat xxx

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