R. Bruce Councell, M.D., FACOG

Dr. Councell is recognized locally and state wide by his peers as a pioneer and leader in the advancement of gynecologic surgery for the patients of Western North Carolina. He has received certificates, licenses, and awards and is a member of many academic societies including the Society of Pelvic Reconstructive Surgeons, the American Urogynecologic Society, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. He has served as chief of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at both St. Joseph's and Mission Memorial Hospitals.  Dr. Councell continues as Clinical assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, and as an instructor of gynecologic surgery for the residents of the Mountain Area Health and Education Center Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program. He continues to publish, lecture, educate and teach on subjects related to laparoscopic and vaginal hysterectomies, pelvic reconstructive and urogyecologic surgery and the application of ultrasound and cystoscopy to gynecologic surgery. He has developed a special interest and skill in minimally invasive surgery, which began in early 1990 when he and his partner, Dr. Sandridge, successfully performed the first laparoscopic assisted hysterectomy in North Carolina. After being invited to present and teach their laparoscopic techniques to the faculties of the Duke, Wake Forest and UNC Schools of Medicine, he developed and directed an Advanced Operative Laparoscopy Course sponsored by the UNC School of Medicine. 

During 1992 to 1993, many surgeons came from around the state to observe, learn and become certified in this new and less invasive surgical technique (SEE LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY). By 1995, this extensive laparoscopic experience enabled him to expand the application of minimally invasive surgery to the vaginal hysterectomy. He learned and developed new surgical techniques that challenged the traditional reasons given for performing the more painful and disfiguring abdominal hysterectomy (SEE ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY).  He is now able to offer to almost all patients who face a hysterectomy the much less painful and less invasive vaginal hysterectomy. (SEE VAGINAL HYSTERECTOMY). He also introduced and taught cystoscopy to the local gynecologic surgeons as a way to not only improve safety but also to allow the accurate performance of advanced urologic procedures in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence that would result in better and longer lasting results.  In 1996 he introduced the incisionless urethropexy using a sling attached by very small bone screws to the pubic arch, all done through the vagina. Previously, all other surgeries to treat bladder leakage permanently required abdominal incisions. Currently he utilizes the TVT Retropubic System Tension Free Support for incontinence. In addition, he has recognized the need to not only repair all pelvic floor defects at the time of the original surgery but to do all of it through the vagina in patients that have developed significant prolapse of their pelvic organs. He was also the first to bring to Asheville the transvaginal sacropexy, a procedure that permanently resupports the vagina to internal structures deep inside the pelvis without making a large abdominal incision.

Dr. Councell is continuing to study and apply his extensive experience to the transvaginal approach for almost all conditions of the gynecologic patient that requires surgical correction. He believes that as more patients become better informed of the benefits and as more gynecologists become skilled vaginal surgeons then minimally invasive surgery for gynecology will be defined by the transvaginal approach.

Curriculum Vitae

R. Bruce Councell, MD, FACOG

DOB 9/12/1952


  • Residency: 1982-1985
    Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Magee Women's HospitalUniversity of Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • Internship: 1981-1982
    Magee Women's HospitalUniversity of Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • Graduate: 1977-1981
    The Bowman Gray School of MedicineWake Forest University
    Winston-Salem, NC
  • Undergraduate: 1973-1977
    B.A. Biology
    The University of North Carolina Asheville
    Asheville, NC 28801
  • High School: 1965-1970
    The Stony Brook School for Boys
    Long Island, NY 11790

Certification and Licensure:

1997   Current Recertified, American Board Of OBGYN

1988   State of North Carolina License No. 33222

1987   Board Certified, American Board Of OBGYN

1985   Board Eligible, American Board Of OBGYN

1982  M.D., Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Certificate No. MD-028178-E


Hospital Staff Privileges:

1989   Current | Mission Hospitals Systems | 509 Biltmore Ave. Asheville, NC 28801


Academic Societies and Awards:

1998   Outstanding Physician Teaching Award from MAHEC OBGYN Residency

1997   Elected Member of the Society of Pelvic Reconstructive Surgeons

1996   Certified by the Accreditation Council for Gynecology Endoscopy

1992   Christian Medical & Dental Society

1991   American Fertility Society

1991   American Medical Association

1989  American Association of ProLife OBGYN

1989  American College of OBGYN, Fellow

1989  North Carolina Medical Society, Member

1986  Pittsburgh OBGYN, Member

1985   Pennsylvania Medical Society, Member

1984  Allegheny County Medical Society, Member

1984   Elected Assistant Chief Resident, Magee Womens Hospital

1982   The American College of OBGYN, Junior Fellow

1977  Magna Cum Laude


Faculty Appointments:

1994  Chief, Department of Gynecology St.Joseph's Hospital. Asheville, NC

1991  Clinical Assistant, Professor of OBGYN University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill

1991   Chief, Department of OBGYN Memorial Mission Hospital. Asheville, NC 

1991   Clinical Instructor,  Auto Suture Laparoscopically-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy-Seminar with Animal Lab

1985   Clinical Instructor, OBYGN. Magee Women's Hospital University of Pittsburgh Medical School Pittsburgh, PA



2018   Keynote Address at Wake Forest School of Medicine's annual Grand Rounds course on Vaginal Hysterectomy and Mid Ureteral Sling procedures. February 23, 2018.



1994   Endometrial Carcinoma Arising Within Extensive Intrauterine Synechiae D.A. Sandridge, MD, R. Bruce Councell, MD, John Thorpe, MD.  Accepted by European Journal of OBGYN, Accepted June 8, 1994

1994   Laparoscopy-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy: A Retrospect, Cohort Study of 178 Cases with Assessment of Patient Satisfaction.  R. Bruce Councell, MD, John M. Thorpe, MD, David A. Sandridge, MD, Helen H. Weist, MD. Obstetrics & Gynecology May 1992 Vol. 80, No. 3, September 1992. Accepted May 1994

1992   Antepartum Diagnosis Placenta Previa Percreta by MRI.  John Thorpe, MD, R. Bruce Councell, MD, David A. Sandridge, MD, Helen H. Weist, MD. Obstetrics & Gynecology May 1992 Vol. 80, No.3, September 1992. Accepted May 1994.

1986   Pancyteopenia in a term pregnancy secondary to acute folate deficiency: A Case Report.  FX Solano, R. B. Councell. Accepted by The American Journal of OBGYN,  December, 1985.