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Having a Hysterectomy. What Do I Need to Know?

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Women talking together as one asks the other what she needs to know about having a HysterectomyI am facing a hysterectomy. What do I need to know about this surgery?

A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, or womb. Over 500,000 women in the United States have this surgery for a number of gynecologic reasons. A hysterectomy can be done in many different ways, using either open or minimally invasive procedures.


The uterus is made up of the fundus (the upper portion) and the cervix (the bottom, or neck, portion). A complete hysterectomy involves the removal of the complete uterus. A partial hysterectomy is the removal of only part of the uterus–the fundus. With a partial hysterectomy (sometimes referred to as a supracervical or sub-total), the cervix remains.


A hysterectomy may be done using an open abdominal incision. With this method, all of the work is done through the incision and either the complete or partial uterus can be removed. For a vaginal hysterectomy, all of the work is done vaginally with the complete uterus being delivered through the vagina. Laparoscopic and robotic versions can allow for several different options. Work can be done entirely through the lap incisions or through the lap incision and the vagina. Either the complete or partial uterus can be removed during a laparoscopic hysterectomy.


The recovery time for a hysterectomy can depend on a number of variables, but the hysterectomy type is likely to play the biggest role. Following a minimally invasive partial hysterectomy, recovery could be as little as a couple weeks. A total abdominal hysterectomy will require around six weeks for recovery. During the recovery period, normal activities such as working, housework, lifting, and chores will be restricted. Doing too much too soon after a hysterctomy can cause complications and lengthen the recovery period. In addition, there will be a "nothing in the vagina" rule that needs to be followed allow for complete healing including the vaginal cuff.


It is important to thoroughly understand the fertility implications of a hysterectomy. Because a woman will no longer be able to conceive and carry a child after a hysterectomy, fertility ends with a hysterectomy.


With the removal of the uterus, periods will cease. However, keeping the ovaries can still allow for a monthly change in hormones and resulting PMS.


A hysterectomy is a major surgery that comes with several potential side effects. Some of these complications can include injury to other organs, premature ovarian failure, pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), adhesions, infection, blood clots, and sexual dysfunction.


In almost all cases, a hysterectomy is considered an elective surgery. Unless it is done for life-saving or cancerous reasons, a hysterectomy is generally performed to eliminate or treat gynecologic issues which are having a negative impact on qualify of life and/or preventing participation in normal daily activities.


Because of all the implications, it is important to seek a second opinion before having a hysterectomy. There may be less invasive options you could choose. Not all surgeons can offer the same surgical choices so consulting with more than one can broaden your options. Since this surgery is irreversible, you want to do all you can to make sure you make the right decision for you.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-08-2014 - 11:18 AM


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Separate Surgeries
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Intimacy after Hysterectomy
Pelvic Floor
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