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Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the uterus. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed. Doctors use hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids and other conditions such as abnormal uterine bleeding.

There are three types of hysterectomy:

  • Partial hysterectomy. A partial hysterectomy removes the upper part of the uterus and leaves the cervix intact.
  • Total hysterectomy. A total hysterectomy is the removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix. If the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed, the procedure is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. If the ovaries are removed, you will experience early onset menopause.
  • Radical hysterectomy. Doctors usually perform radical hysterectomies to treat serious conditions like cancer. The procedure removes the entire uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the lymph nodes in the pelvis. If the ovaries are removed, you will experience early onset menopause.

There are different ways to perform a hysterectomy depending on your condition and medical history and the specific type of hysterectomy needed. Most forms of hysterectomy take about two hours to complete. The various surgical approaches include:

  • Abdominal hysterectomy. An abdominal hysterectomy removes the uterus through an incision in the abdomen. It may take one or two months for you to make a full recovery.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy. A vaginal hysterectomy allows for the removal of the uterus through the vagina and does not require an incision in the abdomen. The recovery time is faster, but it may not be an option if your fibroids are very large.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy. A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon makes small incisions (about 1-inch wide) in the abdomen. He or she then uses tools and cameras to remove the uterus in small segments. Surgeons can also use laparoscopic tools to perform vaginal hysterectomies and robotic-assisted hysterectomies. Most women recover more quickly from a laparoscopic hysterectomy, but the approach may not be appropriate for all conditions.
  • Robotic-assisted hysterectomy. With a robotic-assisted hysterectomy, the surgeon uses a robotic arm to remove the uterus through small incisions in the abdomen. The robotic arm uses tools similar to those used in a laparoscopic hysterectomy. Women tend to recover more quickly from a robotic-assisted hysterectomy than an abdominal hysterectomy.

A hysterectomy is a permanent and guaranteed way to treat uterine fibroids and solve other issues like endometriosis and heavy bleeding. Removal of the uterus stops menstruation and eliminates the risk of cervical and uterine cancer.

If you are considering a hysterectomy, be sure to talk with your doctor and family members about the procedure. A hysterectomy cannot be reversed. After the uterus is removed, you will no longer be able to have children. If the ovaries are removed, you will experience early onset menopause and may need hormone replacement therapy.

As with any invasive surgery that requires anesthesia, a hysterectomy comes with risks, including blood clots and injury to the bladder. An abdominal hysterectomy is major surgery that requires a long recovery time.

Your doctor will help you decide which type of procedure is best for you.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Hysterectomy Treatment Information

What to Expect

Your doctor may order blood and imaging tests before the hysterectomy to determine the size of the uterine fibroids and to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all medicines and supplements that you take. You may be asked to stop taking certain medicines before surgery such as:

Follow your doctor's instructions the night before the procedure. Typically, you will be asked to:

If you are having an abdominal hysterectomy, you should expect to stay in the hospital for one or two days. Most women usually go home the next day after vaginal, laparoscopic and robotic-assisted hysterectomies.

Procedure

On the day of your surgery, take any medicines your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water and be sure to arrive at the hospital on time.

After surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room where a nurse will monitor your vital signs as you are waking up. You will be given pain medicine to help you feel better. The surgeon will encourage you to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible to speed recovery and prevent blood clots in your legs. He or she will also encourage you to use the bathroom as soon as you can. If you had an abdominal hysterectomy, you may have a catheter inserted into your bladder to help you pass urine.

Depending on the type of hysterectomy, you will spend one, two or more nights in the hospital. You usually need two days to recover after an abdominal hysterectomy. You will likely go home the next day after a vaginal, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted hysterectomy.

You can eat a normal diet as long as you are not vomiting and do not feel nauseous.

Results

The surgeon will talk with you after the procedure to see how you are feeling and address any issues or concerns.

If the surgeon ordered pathology or other tests on the uterine or fibroid tissue, he or she will discuss the results with you or tell you when the results will be ready.

Recovery Time

How long it takes you to recover from your procedure depends on the type of hysterectomy. Average recovery times are:

You should avoid the following while you are healing:

If the ovaries were removed during the hysterectomy, early onset menopause will begin and you will likely experience a reduced sex drive. This is because the ovaries make hormones responsible for sexual function.

Your doctor may recommend hormone or estrogen replacement therapy to prevent bone loss and heart disease and maintain sexual health.

Physician Follow-Up

You can expect to see your surgeon within four to six weeks after surgery. He or she will talk with you about how you are feeling and will check your incision sites to make sure they have properly healed.

Be sure to tell the surgeon if you have any new symptoms such as:

He or she can recommend exercises, medicines and other therapies to help reduce these symptoms.


Hysterectomy Locations & Physicians

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