Value Institute symposium discusses hysterectomy, uterine fibroids

Value Institute symposium discusses hysterectomy, uterine fibroids

Michael Rhodes, M.D.
Chair of the Department of Surgery Michael Rhodes, M.D., was among the speakers at the Christiana Care Value Institute symposium "Defining Value in the Surgical Environment."

Christiana Care’s Value Institute held a symposium titled “Defining Value in the Surgical Environment.” Speakers included Robert Laskowski, M.D., CEO and president of Christiana Care Health System, Richard J. Derman, M.D., chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Michael Rhodes, M.D., chair of Surgery. Nearly 300 health care workers attended the symposium, which is a lead-up to the larger Christiana Care Value Institute Symposium scheduled for April 30, 2012.

Barbara Levy, M.D., the former president of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists and a frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey show, was the keynote speaker. Levy, a practicing gynecologist in Seattle, Wash., said that with the right steps in place, gynecologists can successfully perform hysterectomies on an outpatient basis.

Hysterectomies historically have kept women in the hospital for about two or three days. During her presentation, Levy cited research that showed that the average outpatient hysterectomy costs substantially less than the inpatient procedure. The research also showed that the vast majority of outpatient hysterectomies did not require subsequent hospitalization.

“We have incredible prejudice on what we think works best,” Levy said. “But what we need to do is look for meaningful outcomes. … With outpatient hysterectomies, you can save 20 percent to 25 percent in costs.” For example, if surgeons administer DVT prophylaxis and carefully handle the patient’s tissue, among other actions, they can increase the likelihood that the outpatient hysterectomy will be successful, Levy said.

During the conference, doctors also heard from Mark J. Garcia, M.D., FSIR. Garcia is the chief of interventional radiology at Christiana Care and one of few interventionalists nationwide who specializes in the treatment of chronic clots. Garcia showed how embolization is used for the treatment of uterine fibroids. His presentation included information that showed how fibroid embolization is both clinically effective and cost-efficient when compared to other surgical methods.