You need to Know about Hysterectomy
If you are planning to get your uterus removed, you are not the only one. If you are diagnosed with a condition that needs hysterectomy it is obvious to have queries about it too. There is a curiosity about the treatment process, how soon you will recover and will it be helpful in long-term.
What is a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy or uterus removal is a surgical process that can treat various female medical problems. There are expert surgeons who perform the procedure to treat a range of medical conditions that may affect your reproductive system. During the surgery, they may also remove other parts of your reproductive system like the ovaries, fallopian tubes or cervix depending on the reason of your hysterectomy.
There are reasons why women get hysterectomies:
- Painful, heavy and frequent periods which are not improved with medical treatment.
- Uterine prolapse
- Fibroids or cysts that cause pain and heavy bleeding
- A condition where endometrial cells, which make up the lining of your uterus, grows outside of the uterus, attach themselves to other organs
- A condition where uterine lining thickens
- Uterine cancer which can be life-threatening
Prior to considering a hysterectomy, it is important that your doctor reviews both the benefits and risks of the procedure and suggest any alternative treatment options. Few thorough physical examinations such as MRI, ultrasound or CT scan along with a blood test will be carried out prior to the surgery. There is cervical cytology (Pap test) that detects the presence of cervical cancer or abnormal cervical. If required, the doctor might ask to get the endometrial biopsy where they take a sample of the tissues from the uterus. This may be done to rule out precancerous or cancerous conditions.
What are the types of hysterectomy?
There are three different types of hysterectomy your doctor might recommend in response to specific medical conditions.
- A total hysterectomy is a procedure which involves the removal of both the uterus and the cervix. It is the most common type performed in women.
- A radical hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus, cervix, and upper part of the vagina. Tissues that support the uterus and the lymph nodes may also be removed. In cases of gynecologic cancer, this type of hysterectomy is most often recommended.
- A partial hysterectomy, also called a subtotal hysterectomy, is a procedure that involves the removal of the uterus only, leaving the cervix intact.
Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is another condition where the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are removed. Doctors perform this surgery if the woman has cancer of the ovaries or the uterus, or for chronic pain due to recurrent pelvic infection.
The operation may be performed via an incision or cut in your lower abdomen (abdominal hysterectomy), three to four small incisions in your abdomen (laparoscopic hysterectomy), or through your vagina (vaginal hysterectomy).
- Abdominal hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy
When it comes to laparoscopic hysterectomy, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope (something like a telescope) to see your pelvic organs through a small incision in your navel. Through another three or four small incisions, other instruments are used. Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate your abdomen so that all of your organs can be seen clearly.
The surgeon then removes the uterus, with or without fallopian tubes and ovaries, through the vagina. If the top of the vagina is stitched through keyhole incisions, the operation is called a total laparoscopic hysterectomy. If the surgeon stitches the top of the vagina through the vagina, it is called a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy.
Hospital Time: 1 day or less
Recovery Time: 3 weeks
- Vaginal hysterectomy
A vaginal hysterectomy is performed through an incision at the top of the vagina. This procedure is followed in case of uterine prolapse. In this situation, the cervix and uterus come down into the vagina or protrude out of the vaginal entrance.
Hospital Time: 1-3 days
Recovery Time: 3 weeks
After a hysterectomy, your emotional reactions may vary. It completely depends on how well you were ready for surgery, why did you go for it or whether the problem is treated. There are chances some women may feel depressed but that is temporary. Others might find that it has improved their health and for some, it might be life-saving surgery.
Your decision can change your world
Women have a growing number of options for the type of hysterectomy surgery they can have and alternate options available to them. Explore this with your doctor to understand her recommendations for you and pre and post-surgery situations. Talk to hysterectomy specialist to discuss further details.