What is Hysterectomy?

What is Hysterectomy for?

What are the different types of hysterectomies?

What are the different ways of removing the uterus?

Pros and Cons of Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

What are the side effects of hysterectomy?

Other Useful Links

What is Hysterectomy?

This is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus from women. Hysterectomies require general anaesthetics, 2-6 days of hospital stay and 4-6 week of recovery.

It is regarded as major surgery and therefore carries the risks of a major surgery. There are risks associated with general anaesthetics, blood transfusion, wound infection and haematoma, injuries to bowel and ureter (the tube connects the kidney to the bladder).

What is Hysterectomy for?

If you had cancer of the uterus, you may not have any choice but removing the uterus. However, overwhelming majority of hysterectomies in the developed countries such as USA and Australia are performed for benign conditions such as uterine fibroids. Since there are now many effective non-surgical means to treat fibroid symptoms, hysterectomy for benign conditions such as fibroids should be considered as a last resort, when all other less invasive methods in treating your symptoms have failed.

What are the different types of hysterectomies?

There are several types of hysterectomy depending on the reason for the hysterectomy.

Total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy: the entire uterus including the cervix and both ovaries are removed.

Total hysterectomy without oophorectomy: the entire uterus and cervix are removed, but ovaries are left behind.

Subtotal hysterectomy: only the body of the uterus is removed, leaving behind the cervix.

What are the different ways of removing the uterus?

There are many ways of removing the uterus depending on the surgeons' skill, experience and preference, and of course the reason for the hysterectomy.

Abdominal hysterectomy: through a 15 cm incision in the lower abdomen.

Vaginal hysterectomy: through a speculum in the vagina; cervix will have to be removed.

Laparoscopic hysterectomy: this is so-called key-hole surgery. Through three small cuts in the abdomen, the surgeon inserts a camera and other surgical instruments.

Laparoscopy assisted vaginal hysterectomy: combining laparoscopic technique with vaginal hysterectomy.

Pros and Cons of Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

The recovery is quicker with laparoscopic surgery, but the surgical risk is NOT lower. Laparoscopic surgery is technically more demanding and there is a steep learning curve for the surgeons. Due to limited access and visualisation, it can be more risky in terms of injuries to blood vessels, bowel, bladder and ureter. Whether laparoscopic surgery is the right choice for you depend on the reason for your hysterectomy, your desire for quick recovery, as well as skill and the experience of the surgeon.

What are the side effects of hysterectomy?

See separate section on "Why should you consider alternatives to hysterectomy?".

Other Useful Links

For more detailed information regarding hysterectomy please see the following links:

Hysterectomy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A detailed discussion with citations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy: Better Health Channel. Easy to read patient information produced by State Government of Victoria.
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/
bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Hysterectomy?open


How abdominal hysterectomy is carried out: An animation produced by BUPA health to show how abdominal hysterectomy is carried out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLJrsJjhQgc&feature=youtube_gdata_player