LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A surgeon being sued for branding a patient's uterus with the initials of his alma mater — the University of Kentucky — defended his actions Tuesday as a routine part of a hysterectomy.

Dr. Michael Guiler said in a statement that marking the uterus gives doctors a point of reference before it is removed.

Guiler, who used a cauterizing instrument to brand "UK" on Stephanie Means' uterus, said the letters marked the organ's midline and distinguished its left and right side.

"Not only am I always able to remain oriented for the patient's safety, I felt this was honorable since it made reference to the college of medicine where I received my medical degree," he said in the statement, which he read to reporters.