A trachelectomy can be done in different ways. It is important to talk to your surgeon about how your trachelectomy will be done before the surgery. They can explain any risks and benefits of each option, including how it might affect the time it takes to recover.
In a vaginal trachelectomy, your surgeon removes the cancer through a cut that is made in the top of the vagina.
Research suggests there is a slightly higher risk that not all of the cervical cancer will be removed using vaginal trachelectomy. This may mean you need to have further treatment, which could impact your fertility. However, vaginal trachelectomy may also have fewer side effects and better results for preserving fertility.
Vaginal trachelectomy is sometimes done laparoscopically.
Laparoscopic or key hole trachelectomy
Your surgeon does the operation through small cuts (key holes) in your abdomen. They will use tools that have a tiny camera attached, so that they can see the inside of your body on a screen.
In some hospitals, a robot will assist the surgeon. The surgeon is in the same room but sits away from you and controls the robotic arms to perform the surgery. It allows the surgeon to make more controlled and precise movements. The surgeon is still the one doing the surgery. This is sometimes called robotic trachelectomy.
Recovery after keyhole surgery is usually faster because there is less blood loss. This means your hospital stay may be shorter.
In an abdominal trachelectomy, your surgeon will make an opening either along your bikini line or running down from your belly button. They will remove the cervical cancer through this opening.
An abdominal trachelectomy might be more suitable for you if you have a larger cervical cancer, because the surgeon is more likely to remove all of the cancer. However, some research suggests that there might a lower chance of getting pregnant in the future. You may also have a longer recovery time.