Hysterectomy: Surgical Techniques, Complications and Home Care

Overview

Hysterectomy refers to a surgery used to remove the uterus, which make patients cannot bear children. In some cases, it may need remove the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes or other surrounding structures. Hysterectomy is the most commonly performed gynecological surgical procedure. Generally, oophorectomy is done together with hysterectomy to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. However, according to some studies, a prophylactic oophorectomy without an urgent medical indication will decrease a woman’s long-term survival rates and may cause some serious side effects.

Causes

A woman may have a hysterectomy for various reasons, including:

  • Uterine fibroids which can cause pain, bleeding, or other problems.
  • Uterine prolapse which means a sliding of the uterus from its normal position into the vaginal canal.
  • Uterus cancer, cervical cancer, or ovarian cancer.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which is treated unsuccessfully.

Hysterectomy for noncancerous reasons is usually considered only when all other treatments have no effect.

Types

There are three types of hysterectomy. Depending on patients’ specific conditions, doctors will choose different types of hysterectomy.

Radical hysterectomy
In a radical hysterectomy, doctors will remove the whole uterus, including the cervix, upper vagina, and tissue on the sides of the uterus. Radical hysterectomy usually be used when certain cancer is present.

Total hysterectomy
In a total hysterectomy, doctors will remove the whole uterus and cervix completely. Sometimes an oophorectomy will be done together with a total hysterectomy.

Subtotal hysterectomy
Subtotal hysterectomy means removing only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in situ.

Surgical Techniques for Hysterectomy

  • Abdominal hysterectomy
  • Vaginal hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH)
  • Laparoscopic-assisted supracervical hysterectomy (LSH)
  • Total laparoscopic hysterectomy
  • Single-port laparoscopic hysterectomy / mini laparoscopic hysterectomy
  • Robotic-assisted hysterectomy

Complications

A hysterectomy is considered as a fairly safe procedure. Most women who have no serious problems or complications after a hysterectomy. Sometimes some complications may appear though these conditions are rare, including:

  • General anesthetic complications.
  • Infection.
  • Blood clots.
  • Bleeding.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Bladder or bowel damage.
  • Vaginal prolapse.
  • Vaginal fistula.
  • Ovary failure.
  • Early menopause.
  • Pain during intercourse.

Home care

After a hysterectomy, you may stay in hospital for several days (usually two to five days, depends on the type of hysterectomy), and then you will go home. Generally, recovery need six to eight weeks. During this time, you should avoid:

  • Lifting heavy items.
  • Bending.
  • Sexual intercourse.

Some tips may be helpful to release the discomfort, including:

  • Maintain good nutrition.
  • Take exercise appropriately.
  • Learn to relax.

Please remember to consult your doctor for details.

Keywords: hysterectomy; oophorectomy.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.