There are few procedures in gynecologic surgery that are blind. We can readily name dilatation and uterine curettage, but even the dreaded suction curettage can be performed under ultrasound guidance. Laparoscopy with direct insertion or with use of a Veress needle remain two of the few blind procedures in our specialty.
The reality that we all face as minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons is that, as Javier F. Magrina, MD, showed in 2002, more than 50% of injuries to the gastrointestinal tract and major blood vessels occur at entry, prior to the start of the intended surgery, with the majority occurring at the time of the primary umbilical trocar placement. In his study of over 1.5 million gynecologic patients, Dr. Magrina also noted that 20% to 25% of complications were not recognized until the postoperative period.
Interestingly, while some have recommended the open Hasson technique pioneered by Harrith M. Hasson, MD, over the blind Veress needle or direct insertion, there is no evidence to suggest it is safer. Use of shielded trocars have not been shown to decrease entry injuries; that is, visceral or vascular injuries have not been shown to decrease. Finally, at present, data do not support the recommendation that visual entry cannulas offer increased safety, although additional studies are recommended.
It is a pleasure to welcome my partner and former AAGL MIGS fellow, Kirsten J. Sasaki, MD, as well as my current AAGL MIGS fellow, Mary (Molly) McKenna, MD, to this edition of the Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery.
Dr. Miller is a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago and past president of the AAGL. He is a reproductive endocrinologist and minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in metropolitan Chicago and the director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. He has no disclosures relevant to this Master Class.