Hysterectomy: Purpose, Procedure, Recovery

Hysterectomy: Purpose, Procedure, Recovery

What Is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical method to remove a woman’s uterus which is also called a womb is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. There are many reasons that you may need a hysterectomy. The surgery can be used to treat a number of chronic pain conditions as well as infections and certain types of cancer.

The extent of a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for the surgery and sometimes, the entire uterus is removed. The doctor may also remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes during the procedure, if required.

Once you’ve had a hysterectomy, menstrual periods will stop. You’ll also be unable to get pregnant.

Why Is a Hysterectomy Performed?

Your doctor or surgeon may suggest a hysterectomy if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • uncontrollable vaginal bleeding
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • uterus, cervix, or ovaries cancer
  • Fibroids which are benign tumors that grow in the uterus
  • uterine prolapse which occurs when the uterus drops through the cervix and protrudes from the vagina
  • pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a serious infection of the reproductive organs
  • Endometriosis which is a disorder in which the inner lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity, causing pain and bleeding
  • Adenomyosis which is a condition of inner lining of the uterus grows into the muscles of the uterus
How Is a Hysterectomy Performed?

There are 3 different ways a hysterectomy can be performed. These are as follows:

  • laparoscopic hysterectomy
  • vaginal hysterectomy
  • abdominal hysterectomy
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

While performing a laparoscopic hysterectomy, your doctor or surgeon uses a small instrument called a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front of the tube. The instrument is inserted through incisions in the abdomen and three or four small incisions are made instead of one large incision. Once the surgeon or doctors can see your uterus, they’ll cut the uterus into small pieces and remove it one piece at a time.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

While doing a vaginal hysterectomy your uterus is removed through a small incision made inside the vagina by the surgeon. There are no external cuts, so there won’t be any visible scars for vaginal Hysterectomy.

Abdominal Hysterectomy

While doing an abdominal hysterectomy your surgeon removes your uterus through a large cut in your abdomen. The incision may be vertical or horizontal and both types of incisions tend to heal well and leave little scaring.

Recovering from a Hysterectomy

After your hysterectomy procedure, you’ll need to spend 2-4 days in the hospital. Your doctor or surgeon will give you medication for the pain and monitor your vital signs such as your breathing and heart rate.

If you’ve had a vaginal hysterectomy then your vagina will be packed with gauze to control your bleeding. The surgeon will remove the gauze a few days after the surgery. However, you may experience bloody or brownish drainage from your vagina in about 10 days.

When you return home from the hospital, it’s important to continue walking, you should avoid performing certain activities during recovery. These include:

  • pushing and pulling objects, such as a vacuum cleaner
  • lifting heavy items
  • bending

If you’ve had a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy then you’ll probably be able to return to most of your regular activities within 3-4 weeks. If you’ve had an abdominal hysterectomy then recovery time will be a little longer. You should be completely healed in 4-6 weeks.

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