Lauren Braxton tried to have baby No. 2 for years without success, even with fertility treatments. Finally, her OB/GYN referred her to the Atrium Health Women’s Center for Pelvic Health. It was here that Dr. Vilasagar treated a large, obstructive fibroid in her uterus. The recovery was quick and comfortable, and 6 weeks after surgery Lauren got some unexpected news— she was pregnant again!

| 2 months ago

After Struggling with Having Baby No. 2, Lauren Regained Fertility through Miracle Surgery

Lauren Braxton tried to have baby No. 2 for years without success, even with fertility treatments. Finally, her OB/GYN referred her to the Atrium Health Women’s Center for Pelvic Health. It was here that Dr. Vilasagar treated a large, obstructive fibroid in her uterus. The recovery was quick and comfortable, and 6 weeks after surgery Lauren got some unexpected news— she was pregnant again!

Lauren Braxton was trying to conceive her second baby for 4 years without success. Even after 5 rounds of hormone treatments and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Lauren was still seeing negative pregnancy test results.

Lauren also started to experience some uncomfortable symptoms like excess bloating and heavy periods. She knew that something was wrong, and so did her OB/GYN. With these added symptoms, Rebecca Usadi, MD, her infertility specialist at Atrium Health’s Women’s Institute, referred her to Atrium Health’s Women’s Center for Pelvic Health where the doctors discovered that the once small fibroid in her uterus had grown significantly large. Fibroids are benign growths in the uterus that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years. Up to 70% of women may have a fibroid by age 50, but the majority of these growths are small enough not to cause bothersome symptoms or require surgical removal.

A Fibroid the Size of a Cantaloupe

Lauren “thanks her lucky stars every day” that she met Smitha Vilasagar, MD, FACOG, her minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon at the Women’s Center for Pelvic Health at Atrium Health Mercy. Dr. Vilasagar confirmed that Lauren’s fibroid had grown to be as large as a cantaloupe!

Dr. Vilasagar has seen fibroids affect many women’s fertility by being large or in a location such that they distort the uterine cavity and possibly block sperm from meeting the egg or prevent a pregnancy from implanting or progressing. In the case of Lauren, the fibroid became so large that it had to be surgically removed to optimize Lauren’s chance of conceiving.

Sophisticated Treatment Plan Made Through Unique Expertise

“When considering surgery for fibroids or any other reason, it’s important for me to discuss each woman’s goals with her individually. One woman may want to become pregnant, while another may want to have improvement of her periods or pain, so I help her make an informed decision based on her symptoms and goals,” said Dr. Vilasagar. “Particularly with Lauren, we talked about how removal of the fibroid could improve fertility.”

After considering Lauren’s health, lifestyle, and hopes to conceive, Dr. Vilasagar knew that minimally invasive surgery would be an excellent option for her. Specifically, Dr. Vilasagar wanted to perform a laparoscopic myomectomy. In this procedure, a surgeon uses a few small 5 mm incisions and a laparoscope (small thin camera) as well as other small instruments through ports, or small tubes, to remove the fibroid in carefully planned and subtle maneuvers. After removal of the fibroid, the uterine muscle is repaired carefully. The average downtime for this kind of surgery when performed through small incisions is short and usually doesn’t require a hospital stay afterward.

Dr. Vilasagar is one of the few physicians in the area who is trained to perform a minimally invasive laparoscopic myomectomy. She is also the only fellowship-trained gynecologic surgeon in the Charlotte area who can do this type of surgery. Having a doctor with her level of expertise, Lauren Braxton knew she was in good hands.

A Miracle Surgery

Lauren’s surgery and recovery went very well. She went home the same day as surgery and was out of work for only two weeks. In fact, her husband had to keep on reminding her to rest because she felt so good after the procedure. Lauren remembers the process as being as easy as it could be due to the way Dr. Vilasagar and her team carefully prepared her for the surgery.

Dr. Vilasagar performs a minimally invasive approach for many types of surgery because the vast majority of her patients go home the same day and have an overall shorter recovery with lessened pain. She has also customized an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol consisting of multiple methods to decrease surgical stress on the body, shorten recovery time, and reduce complications. She also performs a nerve block during the surgery to reduce pain. This in turn lessens pain and use of pain medications, including opioids, following surgery, which helps her patients get back on their feet more quickly. In today’s fast-paced world, the option to have a sophisticated treatment like this is invaluable.

Before the surgery, Dr. Vilasagar counseled Lauren and informed her of its benefits and risks. “Detailed counseling prior to surgery helps a woman understand recovery expectations and improves outcomes after surgery,” says Dr. Vilasagar regarding how she prioritizes educating her patients about the surgery process. Lauren felt comfortable with the procedure after knowing the big picture.

Six weeks after the surgery, something incredible happened beyond Lauren’s imagination — she found out she was pregnant again! 

Lauren was overwhelmed with joy about the news. ”I am ecstatic, surprised, overwhelmed...I had essentially given up after more than 4 years of not conceiving. This news lifted me as well as my family up after many trying years. And I give all the credit to Dr. Vilasagar and this miracle surgery she performed!” 

Lauren’s due date is May 23, 2020. She and her husband plan to be surprised with the sex of their new bundle of joy when baby Braxton arrives!

 

Learn more about the Atrium Health Women’s Center for Pelvic Health.