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CMH named Center for Excellence in laparoscopic gynecological surgery

Hospital's surgeons are the only ones in New York State to receive the national designation

Columbia Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in New York State to receive national Center of Excellence accreditation in laparoscopic gynecological surgery.

The accreditation comes from the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (AIMIS) which awards the Center of Excellence designation to organizations that meet national standards for laparoscopic procedures, according to Dr. Edward Marici, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia Memorial's Women's Health Center.

The other surgeons from the Women's Health Center at the hospital cited beside Dr. Marici were Dr. Lawrence Perl, Dr. Suzanne Mesidor, and Dr. Marcel Hinds. The surgeons began their quest for national accreditation three years ago. Together they have performed some 350 laparoscopic hysterectomies.

"Since 2008," said Dr. Marici, "we have doubled the number of laparoscopic procedures."

According to Dr. Marici, the Women's Health Center had to meet a national standard of performing hysterectomies where no less than 80% of surgery was done laparoscopically. Over the past two years, Columbia Memorial performed 97% of their hysterectomies laparoscopically. The national average for complication is 1%. Columbia Memorial surgeons had zero complications.

"Delivering excellent care is a passion at Columbia Memorial Hospital," said Jane Ehrlich, hospital CEO.

"Whether it is a woman's first gynecological exam, birth in the award winning Family Birth Place, or laparoscopic gynecological surgery, the hospital offers a complete spectrum of care. This award is indicative of the level of expertise we have in women's health."

According to AIMIS, the Columbia Memorial Center of Excellence "will have national and international recognition for the priority the hospital places on minimally invasive surgery which helps minimize recovery times and provides better patient outcomes."

If a woman coming to Columbia Memorial needs a hysterectomy, there are now two laparoscopic surgical options, called Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy and Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy. They are less invasive, less painful, reduce body scarring, can often be done on an outpatient basis, and have a reduced recovery period, according to Dr. Marici.

Both procedures use a thin, lighted instrument called a laparoscope, along with small surgical instruments that are all inserted through 3 tiny incisions (less than 1/4 inch each) in the navel and abdomen.

According to Marici, these procedures do not require the surgeon to make a large abdominal incision.

"The procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, which means a woman can be home resting comfortably within 24 hours and back to her normal activities in less than a week," said Marici.

"Operating times are often shorter, as well," he said.

Marici said he looks forward to performing single incision laparoscopic hysterectomies, a procedure currently being perfected in a few major centers in the US.