#HealthyMaharashtra: ‘Laproscopic surgery should be made available in rural areas’

Women are the pillars of strength of every home. The stability of a home depends on the health of women. A happy and healthy woman builds a strong foundation of a happy home. If a woman is unwell for a day, the home is in disarray

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Women, today, are career-oriented and put in the same hours as the men. During the process, they are subjected to severe stress from the work and home fronts. Sustaining this pressure for a long time takes a massive toll on their bodies, and they end up paying a heavy price. Earlier, in case of complications, women had to undergo open surgeries.

Removing the uterus even after childbearing, and in severe cases, too was a major stigma. It was traumatic as well as painful.

But, now, women have a painless, less traumatic and patient-friendly option called laparoscopic surgery, which is changing the narratives of surgical intervention across the globe. This procedure is also known as keyhole surgery. This minimally invasive surgery offers patients a cure for their disease as well as allows them to bounce back to their work quickly without losing precious time.

If we aim to provide state-of-the-art medical facility to the poor and needy, then we must tackle ignorance and the myths at the rural level. The state must launch a massive awareness programme to make sure that the benefits of laparoscopic surgery can penetrate to the rural masses.

Laparoscopy surgeries are done through different methods and approaches. They are done by making small holes in the body that heal faster. As there is no open surgery involved, there is less trauma on the body. The convalescence period is very less, and the patient walks on a very first day of the operation.

These surgeries are also organ friendly as all tissues remain intact and the patient gets back to routine quickly without pain and trouble. It is for these reasons these surgeries are called ‘daycare surgeries’. While performing the operation, a doctor can see through the uterus or pelvic bone and remove the polyps or fibroids without harming the uterus. This keeps the morale of the woman very high and they don’t bleed for months as it happened in open surgeries.

At present, laparoscopic surgery has become popular in metropolitan cities. But people living in rural areas are still unaware of the benefits and importance of the surgery. In smaller towns, patients are still subjected to open surgery.

If we aim to provide state-of-the-art medical facilities to the poor and needy, then we must tackle the ignorance and the myths first at the rural level. The state must launch a massive awareness programme to make sure that the benefits of laparoscopic surgery can penetrate to the rural masses.

The other important aspect is to deal with the myths involved with surgical intervention. We must impart basic health education to the poor by explaining to them the importance of the surgery for them as a lifesaver. People in rural India live in the myth that the doctors would take out their uterus, and it is our job to reach out to them and explain to them about the new methods of surgery.

Now, I would like to talk about the most important aspect, the training. Laparoscopic surgery should be made available to all those doctors who want to do this. But, before that, they should learn open surgery.

This training should be rigorous and structured and for this, we need to have a robust system. Introduction of laparoscopic surgery in MBBS syllabus, performing it first on simulators and undergoing proctorship programme will help us create a strong army of laparoscopic surgeons.

If the government aims to provide medical care at the grassroots, then it must be affordable for the poor and needy. At present, the cost of surgeries is very high. For this, we must increase the number of centres so that the patient load is shared. Also, my concern is laparoscopic surgeries are being done in India, but still no indigenous equipment are available in the market. I hope the scenario changes soon.

I would also like to discuss about uterus or uterine transplant. There are many girls in India, who are born without uterus. Uterine transplants offer them a ray of hope. Similarly, those women whose uterus has been damaged, but they want to have a biological child, can be helped through this procedure. A lot of women are coming forward for this procedure, and how can you stop someone from becoming a mother? Uterine transplants will also help curb illegal surrogacy in India.

The author is a Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgeon and Professor Emeritus at Topiwala Medical College, Mumbai