Hysterectomy – Introduction and All About It

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure which involves removal of either the entire uterus or parts of it. Sometimes, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed during a hysterectomy.  The surgery is a very common procedure and statistics indicate that by the age of 60, one in every three women in the United States has undergone a hysterectomy. According to studies, nearly 300 out of every 100,000 women will undergo the procedure.

Know more about the procedure before undergoing hysterectomy

Types of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy can be of various types. The kind of hysterectomy recommended by your doctor will depend upon the causal factors and the hysterectomy diagnosis. The different types of hysterectomy surgeries are as follows:

Total Hysterectomy:

In this kind of procedure, both the uterus as well as the cervix are removed.

Subtotal hysterectomy:

In subtotal hysterectomy, a portion of the uterus is removed. The cervix is left intact.

Radical Hysterectomy:

In this case, the uterus, cervix, the top of the vagina as well as surrounding tissues are removed. Radical hysterectomy is normally done in cases where cancer is detected. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed. The procedure is then termed as oopherectomy.

Hysterectomy Procedures

The kind of hysterectomy procedure selected is important because it will determine your recovery time. Your doctor will decide on the procedure to be followed depending on your overall health as well as the causes that led him to recommend hysterectomy. The kinds of hysterectomy procedures include:

Abdominal Hysterectomy:

This is an open surgery. An incision that is 5 to 7 inches long is made across the belly and the surgeon pulls out the uterus. In the case of total abdominal hysterectomy, the cervix is also removed. Abdominal hysterectomy is very common and accounts for 70 per cent of total hysterectomies. It involves a three day hospital stay as well as a 6 to 8 week recovery period.

Vaginal Hysterectomy:

This involves making an incision in the vagina and removing the uterus. There is no visible scarring involved in the procedure.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy:

Small cuts are made in the belly and using a laparoscope to view the inside of the body. The entire operation can be watched on a video screen and the proceedings are guided by the surgeon. Laparoscopic vaginal hysterectomy involves using laparoscopic tools to remove the uterus through an incision in the vagina.

Causes of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is normally recommended in the following cases:

(i) Uterine Fibroid:

These are benign growths in the uterus. They can be painful. Other symptoms include heavy bleeding, low back pain, frequent urinating and pain during sexual intercourse.

(ii) Endometriosis:

This is when the cells lining the uterus start to grow abnormally and even grow outside the womb. The result is extreme pain, heavy bleeding and infertility.

(iii) Cancer:

Cancer of the uterus or ovaries often results in hysterectomy. Cervical cancer is also treated with this surgical procedure.

(iv) Uterine Prolapse:

The uterus gets displaced and slips into the vaginal canal.

Hysterectomy can cause both physical and emotional trauma. Several women suffer from post-surgery depression. There are also both short term and long term risks that can arise from hysterectomy complications. It is imperative to discuss these factors openly and completely with your health care provider before a hysterectomy surgery. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions while the patient is recovering from a hysterectomy.


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