A trachelectomy is a surgery for treating cancer of the cervix in its early stage. It is the preferred line of treatment for women who want to remain fertile even after the surgery.
The procedure consists of removal of tissue from the neck of the womb (cervix), from surrounding of the cervix (parametrial tissue) and small parts of the vagina. The tubes and ovaries are allowed to remain in place. Some portions of pelvic lymph nodes are removed to check if cancer has spread to the nodes. You will be administered a general anesthetic to keep you asleep during the procedure.
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The surgery may be conducted vaginally through keyhole surgery or via a cut in the abdomen. You can be advised on the procedure by the surgeon. A stitch that is big and permanent is inserted in the opening of the womb (uterus) that makes future pregnancies possible. Menstruation and conception continues. But future babies will be born only via caesarian section.
WHEN IS TRACHELECTOMY RECOMMENDED?
Most cases for this types of surgery is when cancer is small and confined to the cervix and also when patient wishes to remain fertile in the future. You will be subject to a careful assessment and doctor will discuss all issues with you regarding the surgery and the potential for pregnancies in the future.
There are a few options apart from trachelectomy. If future fertility is not desired, you have the option for a radical hysterectomy. This entails removing the uterus, cervix, portions of the vagina and parametrial tissue. Some parts like pelvic lymph nodes are also removed. Surgery is carried out via an incision in the tummy.
RISKS OF THE SURGERY
You will be explained major risks of the surgery by your surgeon. Possible complications are:
- Heavy bleeding while being operated: Blood transfusion may be required.
- Infection: For this, antibiotics may be recommended
- Cut in ureters, bladder, bowels: This may be repaired during surgery itself
- Problems due to anesthesia: Allergic reactions may occur rarely
- Blood clotting in leg: deep vein thrombosis which may lead to clot inside the lungs. This can be prevented by moving around soon after operation. You can also wear surgical stockings and also get injections for blood thinning (till four weeks after surgery).
- Incisional hernia: A bulge formed by a weakness found in surgical wound causing bowel or tissue to push through. This may require a second surgery for correction.
- Lymphocyst: Collection of fluid where there is removal of lymph nodes. Usually it is absorbed by body but may need draining if big and resulting in discomfort.
- Lymphoedema: In some cases when lymph nodes are removed, there is risk that your body will find drainage of fluid from lower body and legs to be difficult. This results in lymphoedema or swelling of lower body and legs. This requires care by a specialist.
These are some aspects about trachelectomy surgery. Cervical cancer treatment cost in India is relatively low and medical tourists seek this treatment in Indian hospitals.