Hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus), is one of the most commonly performed operations in the United States. When both the body, or corpus, of the uterus along with the cervix are removed, this is referred to as a total hysterectomy. Most hysterectomies performed in the U.S. are of this kind. If the cervix is left behind, this is called a subtotal, or supracervical, hysterectomy. Subtotal hysterectomies are typically reserved for special circumstances where removal of the cervix would be either problematic or extremely difficult and would not alter the goal of the operation, but can also be performed due to patient or surgeon preference. If the fallopian tubes are also removed this is referred to as a salpingectomy, while the removal of ovaries is referred to as an oophorectomy. Call our office now at, (307) 682-4664, to schedule your consultation at our office in Gillette, WY.
There are many reasons why a surgical hysterectomy may be recommended, including:
- Excessively heavy, long, or frequent periods or bouts of bleeding (including menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, abnormal uterine bleeding, dysfunctional uterine bleeding)
- Uterine fibroids
- Extremely painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Uterine prolapse
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Uterine cancer or its precursors
There are several surgical approaches that can be used to perform a hysterectomy. Historically, they were done either through a large incision made on the abdomen (Total Abdominal Hysterectomy) or through the birth canal (Total Vaginal Hysterectomy). In modern gynecology, the vast majority of hysterectomies are performed either entirely laparoscopically (Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy) or vaginally, depending on the reason for the surgery. Making a large incision on the abdomen should be reserved for unusual circumstances such as very large fibroid tumors, widespread cancer, or obstetric emergencies requiring hysterectomy surgery. With a total laparoscopic hysterectomy, the uterus is removed vaginally, and only small incisions are made on the abdomen. The entire surgery, including suturing, is done through these small incisions which typically results in less post-operative pain, lower blood loss (compared to an open surgery), and shortened hysterectomy recovery time. Most patients undergoing a total laparoscopic hysterectomy are able to go home the same day the surgery is performed. Total vaginal hysterectomies are performed entirely through the birth canal with no abdominal incisions at all. This is often the best approach for patients who have pelvic relaxation or significant uterine prolapse, a condition where the uterus drops or slides low into the birth canal or even protrudes from the body.
Most patients undergoing a total laparoscopic hysterectomy are able to
go home the same day the surgery is performed.
Recovery from a hysterectomy is typically 2–4 weeks depending on the type of hysterectomy surgery performed, the reason the surgery was needed, the overall health of the patient, and whether other procedures were done in addition to the hysterectomy. Women with jobs that are less physically demanding frequently return to work, at least part time, two weeks after undergoing surgery. 4–6 weeks of recovery time is customarily needed before all restrictions can be removed such as heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, or intercourse. Fortunately, complications related to hysterectomy are uncommon. Most of them, like developing blood clots in the legs or lungs or post-operative infections, can be largely prevented by measures taken at the time of surgery. Optimizing a patient’s health prior to surgery can go a long way in reducing peri-operative risks and shortening hysterectomy recovery time.
Call (307) 682-4664 to schedule an appointment with Associates in Women’s Health.
At Associates in Women’s Health, we perform a full range of gynecologic surgeries using the most up-to-date equipment and surgical methods. If you think you may be a candidate for a hysterectomy surgery, contact our office in Gillette, WY so that we can thoroughly explore your treatment options before deciding which approach is best suited for you.