Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s uterus ( womb). The whole womb or just part of it may be removed. After this procedure, you may no longer have your period and cannot get pregnant. Your doctor may also remove your fallopian tube and ovaries during a hysterectomy.
You should note that if you have not yet reached menopause, removing your ovaries during a hysterectomy will make you enter menopause. If you decide to keep your ovaries intact during the procedure, you may enter menopause at an earlier stage than most women.
TYPES OF HYSTERECTOMY
Total hysterectomy : The whole uterus and cervix are removed.
Partial, subtotal or supracervical hysterectomy : The upper part of the uterus is removed while the cervix is left in place.
Radial hysterectomy : This is usually done when you have cancer. The whole uterus, tissues of both sides of the cervix and the upper part of the vagina are removed.
WHY IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED ?
There are many reasons why a woman will need this procedure. It is usually recommended for people with
- ovarian cancer
- cervical cancer
- uterine cancer
- chronic pelvic pain
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- uterine prolapse
- uncontrolled bleeding during childbirth
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROCEDURE
Like any other surgery, there are some risks associated with hysterectomy. These include the following :
- heavy bleeding
- blood clots in the legs or lungs. This can be fatal
- allergic reaction to medicines
- anesthesia problems such as breathing or heart problems
- early menopause if ovaries are removed
- painful sexual intercourse
- injury to nearby organs such as bladder, urinary tract, blood vessels or rectum
HOW IS HYSTERECTOMY PERFORMED
Vaginal hysterectomy : A cut is made in the vagina. The doctor then takes out the uterus through the incision and closes it with stitches. It is a safe way to remove the uterus, causes less complications and requires less hospital stay.
Abdominal hysterectomy :An incision is made in the lower abdomen. This is usually done if you have large tumors or cancer is present. It requires longer healing time and hospital stay than vaginal and laparoscopic surgeries.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy : The doctor uses a laparoscope ( an instrument with a thin, lighted tube and small camera ) to see the pelvic organs on a screen. The doctor makes small incision in the abdomen to insert the laparoscope and other instruments. He then cuts the uterus into small pieces and removes them through the incisions. In laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH), the doctor removes the uterus through the vagina while the laparoscope guides the procedure. In Robotic-assisted surgery , the doctor uses a robot attached to the instruments to assist in the surgery.
Before undergoing this surgery, ask your health care team about the procedure, what to expect, risks and outcomes. Let them know all medications and supplements you’re taking. Ask them how to prepare on the day of surgery.
You may be given pain medication to relieve discomfort. A catheter may be inserted in your bladder to pass urine. This will be taken out before you leave the hospital. You will also be advised to move around as much as possible to prevent blood clots and speed recovery. You may go home the next day if surgery was done through the vagina using a laparoscope or after robotic surgery. In the case of abdominal hysterectomy, you may stay a couple of days more . Hospital stay may be longer if procedure was done because of cancer.REFERENCES
Hysterectomy fact sheet. Office on Women’s Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/hysterectomy.html. Accessed January 3, 2014
Hysterectomy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq008.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140102T1125104337. Accessed January 3, 2014
Hysterectomy fact sheet. National Women’s Heath Network. http://nwhn.org/hysterectomy. Accessed January 3, 2014
The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved January 2014 from Dictionary.com website.http://dictionary.reference.com.