What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgical operation which removes the uterus (womb) - the organ found in the middle of the female pelvis where babies develop. During a period, the uterus sheds its lining.
There are different types of hysterectomy procedures, including:
* Total hysterectomy: The most common procedure. The uterus and cervix (the neck of the womb) are completely removed.
* Subtotal hysterectomy: Only the uterus is removed, leaving the cervix intact.
* Radical hysterectomy (Wertheim's hysterectomy): The womb, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina and lymph glands may be removed.
Patients who have a hysterectomy are no longer able to get pregnant.
Am I a good candidate for hysterectomy treatment?
There are several reasons why you may need a hysterectomy, including:
- Heavy or very painful periods. Heavy periods can cause anaemia. A hysterectomy may be recommended if other treatment does not improve symptoms.
- Fibroids in the uterus. These are swellings of abnormal muscles and can cause heavy or painful periods, or urinary symptoms.
- Endometriosis. Cells usually found inside the womb are found outside the womb in the pelvis, which can cause scarring. The bladder or rectum may also stick to the fallopian tubes or womb.
- Cervical cancer, uterine cancer, cancer in the fallopian tubes or ovarian cancer may require a hysterectomy as treatment.
It is important to discuss treatment, including less-invasive options, before having a hysterectomy.
How does hysterectomy treatment work?
There are three main approaches to a hysterectomy:
- Keyhole surgery (laparoscopic hysterectomy): Several small cuts are made in the tummy to remove the womb.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: A cut is made in the top of the vagina to remove the womb.This is the safest route and should be the choice offered unless there is a reason it could not be safely carried out.
- Abdominal hysterectomy: A cut is made in the lower tummy to remove the womb.
Your hysterectomy approach will be based on your medical history, condition and your personal choice.
Recovery from hysterectomy treatment
We offer vaginal hysterectomy as a day case procedure. On occassion Yyou may have to stay in hospital for one or 2 days especially after an abdominal hysterectomy.up to five days following your surgery. It can take to six to eight weeks to recover fully, but this depends on the type of hysterectomy undertaken.
Your recovery may include:
* Painkillers to manage pain or discomfort
* Dressings covering your wounds
* A catheter to collect urine from your bladder
* Stitches (removed five to seven days following your surgery)
* A drain in your abdomen to collect any blood (one to two days)
* For a vaginal hysterectomy, a gauze pack may be placed inside your vagina to minimise the risk of bleeding (24 hours).
Going to the toilet may also be uncomfortable following treatment.
You may be advised to:
* Take a short walk the day after your operation to help your blood flow normally and reduce the risk of blood clots developing
* Do physiotherapy exercises to improve your mobility
* Practise pelvic floor muscle exercises
You may be asked to see your doctor after four to six weeks for a follow-up appointmentYour followup would entail a telephone followup withtin the first 3 days of your discharge then a followup appointment in 6 weeks.