Surgery is the mainstay of gynaecological therapy. For historical and political reasons, gynaecologists were previously not considered “surgeons”, although this point has always been the source of some controversy. Modern advancements in both general surgery and gynaecology, however, have blurred many of the once rigid lines of distinction. The rise of sub-specialties within gynaecology which are primarily surgical in nature (for example urogynaecology and gynaecological oncology) have strengthened the reputations of gynaecologists as surgical practitioners, and many surgeons and surgical societies have come to view gynaecologists as comrades of sorts. As proof of this changing attitude, gynaecologists are now eligible for fellowship in both the American College of Surgeons and Royal Colleges of Surgeons, and many newer surgical textbooks include chapters on (at least basic) gynaecological surgery.
Some of the more common operations that gynaecologists perform include:
Dilation and curettage (removal of the uterine contents for various reasons, including completing a partial miscarriage and diagnostic sampling for dysfunctional uterine bleeding refractive to medical therapy).
Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
Oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
Tubal ligation (a type of permanent sterilization)
Hysteroscopy (inspection of the uterine cavity)
Diagnostic laparoscopy – used to diagnose and treat sources of pelvic and abdominal pain; perhaps most famously used to provide a definitive diagnosis of endometriosis.
Exploratory laparotomy be used to investigate the level of progression of benign or malignant disease, or to assess and repair damage to the pelvic organs.
Various surgical treatments for urinary incontinence, including cystoscopy and sub-urethral slings.
Surgical treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, including correction of cystocele and rectocele.
Appendectomy – often performed to remove site of painful endometriosis implantation or prophylactically (against future acute appendicitis) at the time of hysterectomy or Caesarean section. May also be performed as part of a staging operation for ovarian cancer.
Cervical Excision Procedures (including cryosurgery) – removal of the surface of the cervix containing pre-cancerous cells which have been previously identified on Pap smear.
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