Each March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day to recognize the past and present contributions of women. In the medical community, we honor women through continued advancements in the field of obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN).
“It is the only field of medicine that solely provides services to women,” said Kevin Stocker, MD, an OB/GYN provider at UVA Obstetrics and Gynecology at Culpeper Medical Center, as he explained the importance of women’s healthcare and how he’s seen the field improve.
Advancements in Medicine
As in most specialties of medicine, standard practices have changed over the last several decades in OB/GYN care. Advanced technology and new techniques have altered the way providers look at and address problems.
“A few decades ago, a hysterectomy, for example, could have had a woman out of commission for a couple of months because of the involvement and complexity of the surgery was so involved and complex,” said Stocker “Today, thanks to minimally invasive surgery practices and equipment that allows us to safely do procedures with smaller incisions, that recovery period is much shorter, and chances of complications are significantly lower.”
Stocker noted that these improved practices aren’t only applicable to major surgeries, like hysterectomies, but also to more common procedures like biopsies and even nonsurgical services, like cervical cancer screenings.
“Nearly everything we do has become more streamlined and more comfortable for the patient,” he added.
Many of today’s OB/GYN practitioners, including Stocker and the team at Novant Health UVA Health System, perform a wide range of services, including:
• Annual visits and screenings including pap smears, HPV testing and mammograms
• Obstetrics and prenatal care
• Colposcopies — Evaluating abnormal pap smears and biopsies by examining the cervix and vagina for signs of disease
• Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures (LEEP) — removing abnormal cells from the walls of the cervix
• Biopsies — Evaluating abnormal cells for signs of cancer or other diseases
• Well Woman care from teenage years to post-menopausal years
• High-risk obstetric care including diabetes and hypertension and obstetrical complications.
• Evaluations and screenings for STDs and treatment of STDs
• Menopausal problems including hot flashes and abnormal bleeding
• Gynecologic conditions including fibroids, ovarian cysts abnormal bleeding
• Pelvic support issues and problems with urinary incontinence
• Infertility evaluations and counseling
• Contraception counseling
• Elective gynecologic surgeries including tubal ligation
• Surgical treatments with minimally invasive techniques including robotic surgery
Treatment Through All Stages of Life
“I love how diverse the work as an OB/GYN provider is,” said Stocker. “We get to do everything from performing minor and major operative procedures to determining and advising on birth control options for a woman’s unique needs to helping women through high-risk pregnancies. It’s very rewarding.”
Stocker noted that OB/GYN providers also get to treat women throughout all stages of their lives, from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.
“We have prolonged, lasting relationships with our patients that providers in other specialties don’t often get to have,” he added. By forming these patient relationships, OB/GYN providers are often able to offer a trusted voice in areas beyond reproductive health.
For more information about OB/GYN services at Novant Health UVA Health System or to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please visit