In a bright and cheery east end community centre, Lauren Singleton commands the room. Dressed in slim cut workout gear, it’s obvious she makes movement a daily priority. Lauren has been teaching fitness for years, and as she leads her class through the first set of drills, exudes joy through every sweaty step. Amazingly, despite just having a hysterectomy, her hamstring curls and lunges have more chutzpa than anyone else. It’s a very cool sight.
Lauren is exactly the type of person who will go stir crazy when sidelined by a minor injury, let alone major surgery. That, alongside other criteria, made her a great candidate for minimally invasive surgery, or MIS at Sunnybrook. One day in hospital and a few short weeks of recovery later, Lauren is now hoping more women learn about MIS procedures. Sunnybrook has the highest volume of specially trained MIS surgeons who perform the most complicated cases across Canada. Lauren found herself here looking for a second opinion. “Other doctors had said things like watch and wait, and I really wanted to get on with my life.” She was happy to find there were some viable options to consider, including MIS.
MIS replaces the need to open up the abdomen to do surgery on conditions like fibroids and endometriosis. Instead, instruments are fed through tiny incisions (ranging in size from 5 millimetres to 1 centimetre) while internal images are magnified on screens in the operating room. Think of it as video-game inspired medicine. Dr. Rose Kung is a leader in the field, and says she used to practice her hand-eye coordination with the help of Nintendo. Today, her trainees spend serious time in a specialized lab, hoping to perfect their own skills through video technology. To the layperson, it looks like you’re trying to manipulate precise movement through straw-like instruments only visible on the screen in front of you. Not easy, but truly remarkable.
Lauren didn’t go quite so far, but says she was surprised how good she felt as quickly as she did. And there is one incision she can’t even find. “Overall, I’m like 100 per cent better. I’m looking forward to getting stronger.” With more than a dozen fitness classes on her schedule each week, there’s certainly no doubt of that.
To see MIS in action, click on my video.