St. Luke's University Health Network


    • Four St. Luke's Gynecologists, St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus Awarded Center of Excellence in Minimally-Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Four St. Luke's Gynecologists, St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus Awarded Center of Excellence in Minimally-Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Four St. Luke's Gynecologists, St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus Awarded Center of Excellence in Minimally-Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Michael Patriarco, DO
Michael Patriarco, DO
St. Luke's Director of
Minimally Invasive
GYN Surgery

Tirun Gopal, MD
Tirun Gopal, MD

Sheldon Linn, MD
Sheldon Linn, MD

David Hanes, MD
David Hanes, MD

Allentown, PA (12/11/2012) - St. Luke's Allentown Campus and gynecologic surgeons Michael Patriarco, DO, St. Luke's Director of Minimally Invasive GYN Surgery; Tirun Gopal, MD; Sheldon Linn, MD and David Hanes, MD have been awarded the Center of Excellence designation in Minimally Invasive Gynecology ™ (COEMIG).

"This designation distinguishes both the hospital and the individual surgeons as providers who have met the requirements for delivering high-quality surgical care from those who have not," said Joseph Merola, MD, MPH, FACOG, St. Luke's Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Medical Director, Women's & Children's Service Line. "Patients should be assured of the excellent quality, superior skill and high level of commitment to minimally-invasive procedures that St. Luke's and these physicians provide."

Hospitals and individual surgeons qualify for designation as an AAGL Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology™ (COEMIG) by participating in a rigorous evaluation process designed to document that they have a comprehensive program and meet the established program requirements for providing safe gynecologic surgical care with excellent short- and long-term outcomes. The evaluation not only documents the surgical process (equipment, supplies, training of surgeons and staff and the availability of consultant services), but emphasizes patient results.

"Patients benefit from knowing that COEMIG-designated physicians are keenly aware that women want and need to return to a full and active life as soon as possible after surgery," said Dr. Patriarco. "In fact, women delay having many surgeries that will improve their quality of life because they believe there may be a long, painful recovery away from work, daily activities and taking care of family. This does not have to be the case."

Some procedures that the St. Luke's physicians perform minimally-invasively include the following:

  • Removal of fibroids (myomectomy)
  • Endometrial ablation (for bleeding issues as an alternative to hormone treatments or hysterectomy)
  • Uterine cancer surgery
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Cystocele or dropped bladder repair
  • Rectocele or dropped rectum repair
  • Vaginal vault prolapse repair
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence repair

"These conditions afflict women of all ages and highly affect quality of life," said Dr. Gopal. "Women who cannot run to cross the street for fear of bladder leakage, who suffer severe cramps, pelvic pain, abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding and pain during intercourse need to know that minimally-invasive options are available to correct those conditions that detract from living well."

Part of the COEMIG designation is performing hysterectomies only when necessary, according to Dr. Linn. "Nearly 30 percent of the hysterectomies performed in this country have been deemed unnecessary. Instead, many St. Luke's gynecologists are performing minimally-invasive procedures in our offices and in the hospital that may help women avoid removal of their reproductive organs. However, when hysterectomies are needed, we prefer to perform the minimally-invasive surgery to speed recovery for our patients."

Nationally, 65 percent of hysterectomies are performed with abdominal incisions. Surgeons at St. Luke's perform 80 percent of hysterectomies via minimally invasive techniques and only 20 percent with traditional abdominal incisions.

One of the causes of hysterectomies includes uterine fibroids. St. Luke's Fibroid Center offers medical, non-invasive and minimally invasive options to treat fibroids. For more information or to make an appointment, call1-877-495-SLFC (1-877-495-7532).

St. Luke's offers full services for women, from gynecology, obstetrics, women's imaging, and women's heart care. The New Beginnings Birth Centers at St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus and St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem have recently been named The Morning Call's Best Place to Have a Baby (2012).

St. Luke's Women's Imaging Centers are located throughout the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. For more information, please see St. Luke's website: or call St. Luke's InfoLink at 1-866-STLUKES (1-866-785-8537).

To find a gynecologist and / or obstetrician, please call St. Luke's InfoLink at 1-866-STLUKES (1-866-785-8537).

About Advancing Minimally Invasive Gynecology Worldwide (AAGL)

The AAGL vision is to serve women by advancing the safest and most efficacious diagnostic and therapeutic techniques that provide less invasive treatments for gynecologic conditions through integration of clinical practice, research, innovation, and dialogue. Founded in 1971, the organization has educated the world's finest surgeons while improving the lives of women everywhere. This global commitment to women's health care is embodied in their continuing medical education of physicians and professionals to further promote the well-documented high standards of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. For more information about AAGL, see

About Surgical Review Corporation (SRC)

SRC is an independent, nonprofit organization governed by industrial stakeholders and dedicated to advancing the safety, efficacy and efficiency of surgical care worldwide. Initially focused on bariatric and metabolic surgery, SRC has emerged as a leading administrator of center of excellence programs for surgical specialties.

** AAGL Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology™, COEMIG™, and the COEMIG seal are trademarks of the AAGL ( All rights reserved.

Contact Information

Denise E. Rader
Director of Network Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

Kate Raymond
Director of Marketing
St. Luke's University Health Network