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Hysterectomy is the surgical term for the removal of the uterus (womb). This results in the inability to become pregnant.
There are different types of surgeries, such as:
You may have a hysterectomy if your uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. Some reasons a woman may have a hysterectomy are to:
Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.
If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.
Your doctor may do the following:
You should do the following:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the surgery.
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You may be given antibiotics just before your surgery.
Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive. This means that small incisions are made, rather than the large incisions that are used during open surgery.
During this procedure, the doctor will make small incisions in the area of your navel and hip bone. A laparoscope (a small tool with a camera on one end) will be inserted through one of the incisions. The tool will allow the doctor to view your pelvic organs on a monitor. Other tools will also be inserted to do the surgery. Next, the doctor will detach the uterus from the cervix. A tool will be used to break down the uterus into smaller pieces. The doctor will then remove this tissue through the small incisions.
Similar to the above surgery, the doctor will make small incisions in the abdominal area and insert tools. The doctor will then make an incision in the vagina to help detach the lower portion of the cervix and the uterus. The cervix and uterus will then be removed through the vaginal opening.
A hysterectomy can also be done using robotic technology. Like the laparoscopic procedures, tools are placed through small incisions in the abdominal area. The doctor, though, sits at a console and views the organs via a monitor that displays a 3D image. The surgery is done using a joystick-like device to control the tools.
You will be given IV fluids and medicines.
You will not have pain during the surgery because of the anesthesia. During your recovery time, your doctor will give you pain medicine.
You may be able to leave the hospital on the same day or the next day. You will stay longer if you have complications.
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
During the first few days, you may have pain, bloating, vaginal bleeding, and vaginal discharge.
When at home, take these steps to care for yourself:
Note: If the doctor has not removed your cervix, you will need to continue to have Pap smears to check for cervical cancer.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Canadian Medical Association
Hysterectomy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq008.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120815T1040007858 . Published August 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Hysterectomy. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System website. Available at: http://www.stfrancishealth.org/our-services-surgical-care-surgical-procedures-hysterectomy.html . Accessed August 16, 2012.
Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. Shawnee Mission Medical Center website. Available at: http://videocenter.shawneemission.org/videos/laparoscopic-supracervical-hysterectomy . Accessed August 16, 2012.
McCoy K. Robot-assisted laparoscopic procedures. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 30, 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
The treatment: robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy. UC Davis Health System website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/obgyn/specialties/robotic_surgery/hysterectomy.html . Accessed August 16, 2012.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Andrea Chisholm
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
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