Gynecological Procedures and Surgeries
This page explains some, but not all, of the procedures and surgeries performed by Mankato Clinic OB/GYNs.
A gynecological exam is a complete exam of a woman’s pelvic organs by a health professional. The exam helps evaluate the size and position of the vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries. It may be done to help detect certain cancers in their early stages, infections, sexually transmitted infections or other reproductive system problems.
You can expect to feel a little discomfort, but you should not feel pain during a pelvic exam. The exam itself takes about 10 minutes. If you have any questions during the exam, be sure to ask your doctor. During the exam you doctor will:
- Talk to you about any health concerns
- Press down on areas of the lower stomach to feel the organs from the outside
- Ask you to bend your knees and to place your feet in holders called stirrups
- Perform the speculum exam. During the exam, a device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The speculum is opened to widen the vagina so that the vagina and cervix can be seen.
- Perform a Pap smear. Your doctor will use a plastic spatula and small brush to take a sample of cells from the cervix (A sample of fluid also may be taken from the vagina to test for infection.)
- Perform a bimanual exam. Your doctor will place two fingers inside the vagina and uses the other hand to gently press down on the area he or she is feeling. Your doctor is noting if the organs have changed in size or shape.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Different portions of the uterus, as well as other organs, may be removed at the same time. Several possible causes or reasons for hysterectomy include:
- Fibroid tumors—non-malignant tumors may grow and become large, causing pressure on other organs and possibly heavy bleeding or pelvic pain.
- Endometriosis—endometrial cells sometimes grow outside of the uterus, attach themselves to other organs in the pelvic cavity, and bleed each month in accordance with an ovarian cycle. This can result in chronic pelvic pain, pain during sex, and prolonged or heavy bleeding.
- Endometrial hyperplasia—a cause of abnormal bleeding, this over-thickening of the uterine lining is often due to the presence of continuous estrogen without progesterone. This is common during perimenopause when hormone levels are changing.
- Cancer—approximately 10 percent of hysterectomies are performed to treat cancer—either cervical, ovarian, or endometrial.
- Blockage of the bladder or intestines—a hysterectomy may be performed if there is a blockage of the bladder or intestines by the uterus or a growth.
Laparoscopy is a procedure used to examine the organs of the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopy utilizes a laparoscope, a thin flexible tube containing a video camera. The laparoscope is placed through a small incision in the abdomen and produces images that can be seen on a computer screen. The advantage of laparoscopy is that it allows a direct view of the abdominal organs and structures without the need for major surgery.
Laparotomy may be performed to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms or to establish the extent of a disease. Exploratory laparotomy may be used to examine the abdominal and pelvic organs (such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum).
A tubal ligation—also known as having your tubes tied or tubal sterilization—is a type of permanent birth control. During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. A tubal ligation disrupts the movement of the egg to the uterus for fertilization and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg.