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Alternative Names Return to topVaginal hysterectomy; Abdominal hysterectomy; Supracervical hysterectomy; Radical hysterectomy; Removal of the uterus; Laparoscopic hysterectomy; Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy; LAVH; Total laparoscopic hysterectomy; TLH; Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy; Robotically assisted hysterectomy
Definition Return to top
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. It may be done through an incision (cut) in either the abdomen (belly) or the vagina.
Description Return to top
Your doctor will help you decide which type of hysterectomy is best for you. It will depend on your medical history and the reason for your surgery.
During a hysterectomy, the whole uterus or just part of it may be removed. The fallopian tubes (the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus) and ovaries may also be removed.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy. But, there may be ways to treat your condition that do not require this major surgery. Your condition may be helped with less invasive surgery. Talk with your doctor about your treatment optoins.
After having their uterus removed, many women will notice changes both in their body and in how they feel about themselves. Talk with your doctor, your family, and your friends about these possible changes before you have surgery.
Hysterectomy may be recommended for:
Risks Return to top
The risks for any surgery are:
Risks that are possible from a hysterectomy are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure Return to top
The average hospital stay depends on the type of hysterectomy you had. Most women stay 2 to 3 days. When hysterectomy is done because of cancer, the hospital stay is often longer.
You will be given pain medicine after surgery through an IV (intravenous, through a vein) and pills. You may also have a catheter into your bladder for 1 to 2 days to pass urine. You will be asked to get up and move around as soon as possible. This will help keep blood clots from forming in your legs and will help you avoid other problems as you recover.
You will be asked to get up to use the bathroom as soon as you are able. You may return to a normal diet as soon as your bowels start working again.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Complete recovery may take 2 weeks to 2 months. Recovery from a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy is faster than recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy. It may also be less painful. Average recovery times are:
If your ovaries are also removed and you have not gone through menopause yet, this surgery will cause menopause. Your doctor may recommend estrogen replacement therapy.
Some women worry that their sexual function will decrease after their uterus is removed. Sexual function after a hysterectomy depends mostly on what sexual function was like before the surgery.
References Return to top
Katsumori T, Kasahara T. Uterine artery embolization versus hysterectomy in the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids (EMMY trial). Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;195:1190.
Entman SS, Graves CR, Jarnagin BK, Rao GG. Gynecologic surgery. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 75.Update Date: 2/19/2009 Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.