Compared to traditional open surgeries, minimally invasive procedures have indisputable benefits for patients, including less blood loss, decreased risk for infection, faster recovery and return to normal activity, and decreased scarring.
At Johns Hopkins, members of the Advanced Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery group—including Kristin Patzkowsky, Khara Simpson and Karen Wang—take full advantage of these benefits, offering minimally invasive procedures to nearly all patients who need gynecologic surgery. Yet many medical centers are slow to adopt minimally invasive protocols because of the advanced training required to master these skills.
With just 45 fellowship programs accredited by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) in the United States and Canada, up from seven in 2001, very few surgeons are fellowship-trained in minimally invasive gynecologic procedures.
That’s why Wang and other members of the group are launching a minimally invasive surgery fellowship at Johns Hopkins. The program, which starts in July 2018, will feature a curriculum and research component approved by the AAGL, the leading association promoting minimally invasive gynecologic surgery among surgeons worldwide. In its first year, the three surgeons will train a single fellow. That number will increase to two fellows in subsequent years.
“This program will definitely elevate patient care at Johns Hopkins, providing us extra assistance and increased perspective on cases,” Patzkowsky says. “And by training the next generation of minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons, we’ll be elevating patient care far beyond our own institution as well.”