One Advantage to Being Female

We can have organs removed through our vaginas. Cool!

This is, of course, controversial, but I don’t really see why. If it caught on, presumably it would always remain optional, yes? I mean, nobody should have anything stuck up her tunnel of love without consent. That goes without saying. But if I had to have my gallbladder or appendix removed, I would much rather they go through the vag than through the abdominal wall. (Or the mouth or rectum, the other orifices they’re starting to do this kind of surgery through.)

I remember talking to my friend Jo while she was recovering from hernia surgery a couple years ago. This quote kinda stuck with me: “Did you ever realize that every fucking movement you make originates with your abdomen? ‘CAUSE I DIDN’T.”

And Jo’s a yoga teacher.

This is the same reason why I’m pathologically afraid of being forced to have an “emergency” caesarean if I ever do the kid thing. My mother had four c-sections, because she had the first one in 1960, and the way they did it then precluded ever having a vaginal birth afterwards. She made it very, very clear to us fruits of her abdomen that this meant she’d faced down four newborns immediately after major surgery, and basically, if she’d never done anything else for us but give birth that way–in fact, if she’d abandoned each of us in a thicket on the way home from the hospital–we would still owe her eternal, profound gratitude for that alone.

I’m inclined to agree.

So I’m perfectly happy to apply the same principle to diseased organs as I would to babies: if it is humanly possible to get it out through my cooter instead of cutting me open, for the love of god, do that.

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10 thoughts on “One Advantage to Being Female

  1. They’re still cutting you open, they’re just cutting your vagina open (colpotomy) instead of poking laparoscopy holes in your abdominal wall.

    I don’t know – we need a heap more data before this technique is embraced. Vaginal tubal ligations were quite popular for a while, on the data-free assumption that they were super duper safe – but they weren’t. Around double the risk of complications – haemorrhage, infections and pelvic abscesses. And a higher failure rate to boot – 2-4% or more. There was also a chance of painful penetrative sex after the procedure, which can last for months. Vaginal tubal ligation has been abandoned in areas where laparoscopy is available.

  2. Good to know, Lauredhel. I knew there was still an incision happening–I don’t actually think everything rattles around loose in there–but I forgot about laparoscopy; I was picturing the only alternative being a big slice through the gut.

    I was about to say, “If I were ever in that situation, I’d obviously do more research,” but duh… When you’ve got appendicitis, you don’t have time to research. So I guess I’d better do it in advance.

    Still, although I totally agree with the “heap more data” point (obviously, this procedure is brand new), I also think… well, is it possible to be optimistically skeptical? ‘Cause that’s sort of how I feel about it.

    In the meantime, I’m just going to really hope I don’t need my appendix or gallbladder out in any case.

  3. The majority of gallbladder removals are done laparoscopically these days (lap chole). Appendices are still on the fence, I think; some people strongly believe that a miniature open appy heals just as well as a laparoscopic one, with the advantages of fewer incisions (albeit one larger one) and not pumping the belly full of gas (a quite big advantage), and less table time.

    The one thing I can tell you for 100% is: never, ever be one of a surgeon’s first 20 or 30 when she’s learning a new minimally-invasive procedure. Lap choles taught us that. No one wants to be on the sharp end of the learning curve.

  4. The one thing I can tell you for 100% is: never, ever be one of a surgeon’s first 20 or 30 when she’s learning a new minimally-invasive procedure. Lap choles taught us that. No one wants to be on the sharp end of the learning curve.

    Oh, for sure. I wouldn’t buy an iPod until they’d been around long enough to have the bugs out. I definitely don’t want to be a medical guinea pig.

  5. And I just realized you weren’t talking about guinea piggery per se, but about being the poor slob who goes first (or 20th) with a particular surgeon. And my response is pretty much the same. I’d be happy to let people learn how to do surgery on my body after I’m dead, but not right now.

  6. I don’t know anything about the procedures involved, but the thought of the incision being on the inside instead of the outside (where it could be easily observed) just freaks me out.

    It doesn’t sound like ‘less invasive’ surgery to me. Just invasive in some place that doesn’t show. *grimace*

  7. It’s not less invasive. But the chances of permanent intestinal adhesions are vastly increased. And if you aren’t already aware, that means a lifetime of chronic pain.

    Been there, doing that.

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