What Is a Hysterectomy?

If you're pregnant, healthy or under the age of 60 you may not have the understanding of the procedure, recovery or the side effects of a hysterectomy. 

Article Contents

What is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is the name for the operation in which surgically removes your womb. This is only recommended when other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful, look at this is the last option. You may have to ask yourself a few questions before choosing to have this done;

  • Is my body prepared to possibly go through early menopause?
  • Have I tried all avenues of treatments?
  • Have I done all I can do?
  • Is the possibility of children still on the cards?
  • Are my symptoms affecting my quality of life?

Patient_

 There are more than one type of hysterectomy which can be chose depending on your individual health concerns and the reasoning to why you need the operation in the beginning. 

Total Hysterectomy:

In the cases of a total hysterectomy both the womb and cervix are removed. This is the most preferred operation and is the most common type of hysterectomy. 

Subtotal Hysterectomy:

This operation is done by removing the womb but leaving the cervix in place. This means that a cervix screening is still necessary as you have every chance of developing cervical cancer. This type of hysterectomy is very rarely done. 

Total Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy:

This is the same as the total hysterectomy but the fallopian tubes are also removed which is referred to as a Salpingectomy. The ovaries are also removed in this procedure which is known as an Oophorectomy. This type of hysterectomy is only performed if risks of ovarian cancer is high, possibly looking at your family's health record. 

Radical Hysterectomy:

This operation is when most of the reproductive system is removed. The following is removed during the procedure;

  • the womb, 
  • surrounding tissues, 
  • fallopian tissues, 
  • part of the vagina, 
  • ovaries, 
  • lymph glands and any fatty tissue. 

 Doctor_

How Is The Procedure Carried Out?

Hysterectomy can be carried out in 3 different ways known as Laparoscopic, Vaginal and Abdominal. Each method is chosen based on the individual and their health conditions. 

Laparoscopic:

This method is the most common and is preferred by many surgeons as this is the safest option for many patients. This is also known as keyhole surgery, meaning the operation is carried out through several small incisions around the abdominal area. These small incisions are made in order to send a tube with a camera through and also the instruments in order to remove the parts necessary. This is done under general anaesthetic. 

Vaginal:

This method of hysterectomy is done through a small incision at the top of the vagina and again instruments are used to remove the necessary parts. This procedure usually takes around 1 hour and can be done under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. This procedure is less invasive, has a shorter hospital stay and has a quicker recovery time. 

Abdominal:

This method is done one of two ways;

  • A horizontal incision just above the bikini line, 
  • A vertical incision going from the belly button down to just above the bikini line. 

This is more invasive and can have a longer recovery time. 

Surgery_

How Long Will It Take To Recover From a Hysterectomy?

After waking up from your surgery, you will notice a lot of pain and this is completely normal after an operation. You will be given pain killers to ease this pain. your incisions will be dressed and these may need to be cleaned and re-dressed a number of days after the surgery. Your hospital stay can be a lengthy one after your procedure, meaning you could be looking at a 5 day hospital day. You're given anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for a full recovery. 

If you have received stitches, these will need to be removed between 5 to 7 days after the operation and you're usually given a date to come back to the hospital for a check on the recovery after the surgery. You're advised to avoid lifting anything heavy during your recovery as you have to give your muscles time to heal. 

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