She eventually opted, however, for a new procedure offered at UT Southwestern Medical Center called a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy.
In the procedure, surgeons use new technology to remove the uterus and sometimes one or both ovaries through tiny incisions. Unlike in traditional hysterectomies, the cervix is not removed.
The patient's hospital stay is dramatically reduced from a few days to a matter of hours. Post-surgical pain is much less, and recovery time is shorter usually only a week.
"I definitely wish I had had the surgery sooner," Ms. Williams said, adding that three tiny incision scars are her only souvenir from the surgery. "The pain I had been experiencing is gone, and when I went home I felt so good I had a hard time making myself stay in bed." That's the beauty of the new procedure, said Dr. Mayra Thompson, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and one of the surgeons who performs the new hysterectomy.
"This minimally invasive surgery is the way to go; women have a quicker recovery, and are back in the workforce quicker and back to their families sooner," she said.
Surgeons believe leaving the cervix in place also preserves pelvic floor function, preventing the usual incontinence most women experience after conventional hysterectomies.
"For women who have a medical indication for a hysterectomy but who have been afraid of losing the support that the pelvic structure gives or fear losing sexual function, this is an excellent alternative," Dr. Thompson said.