Anesthesia for Fibroid Surgery

This information is useful for adults
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Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine Anesthesiology is a national leader in clinical care.
  • Our highly trained anesthesiologists specialize in gynecologic procedures.
  • We have more advanced resources for fibroid surgery anesthesiology than outpatient centers.

Many women get uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus that develop in the childbearing years. If you require surgery to remove fibroids, you'll likely be given general anesthesia and will be asleep during the procedure.

Yale Medicine's anesthesiologists work alongside the surgeons who remove uterine fibroids, monitoring you closely. “Here, we have highly trained physicians and a team of anesthesiologists who specialize in gynecologic procedures. We are prepared to ensure your safety and comfort,” says Philip Rubin, MD, a gynecologic anesthesia specialist, and assistant professor of anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine.

Surgery for uterine fibroids can be performed through a single abdominal incision; through tiny, laparoscopic incisions; or through the vagina. General anesthesia is usually recommended for any of these surgeries. This allows the patient to be in a deep sleep throughout the procedure and not feel any pain or discomfort. It also allows for a quicker recovery.

If a patient strongly opposes general anesthesia (and is not undergoing a laparoscopic procedure), or if another health problem makes it too risky, she may have the option of receiving a spinal anesthetic—similar to what women are given for caesarean section—or deep sedation, instead. “We do have that option for gynecologic surgeries, although it may prolong the patient’s hospital stay,” says Dr. Rubin.

Spinals numb the legs and take several hours to wear off, so patients must stay in the recovery room for a longer period of time. 

Another type of treatment for uterine fibroids, called embolization, involves threading a tiny wire through an artery leading to the uterus. Embolization may be a good choice for women who don’t want to have any more children, but who don’t want an invasive surgery such as a hysterectomy. For this procedure, patients are usually kept awake. They’re given local anesthetic to numb the injection site and a sedative to make them drowsy.