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Overview of Hysterectomy: Types, procedure, benefits, risks and recovery process

Team AckoAug 24, 2022

According to the National Family Health Survey-IV (2015–2016) the prevalence of Hysterectomy operations in Indian women was around 3.2%. If you haven’t heard about this procedure before or you have and want to know more about it, read ahead. In this article, we will elaborate on what Hysterectomy is, its types, procedures, benefits and recovery tips.

Hysterectomy

What is a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy is a procedure that involves the partial or complete removal of the uterus (depending on the reason for the surgery). The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman gets pregnant. Thus, after undergoing Hysterectomy, women may not be able to get pregnant and may stop having menstrual periods, even if they haven’t yet attained the age for menopause.

Why undergo a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy is usually performed under the following circumstances.

  • Severe pain during the menstrual cycle that cannot be treated.

  • The growth of non-cancerous uterine fibroids.

  • Severe pelvic pain associated with the uterus that cannot be treated.

  • If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, it cannot be treated.

  • Bleeding in the vagina that does not stop despite undergoing treatments.

  • If the uterus falls into the vaginal canal in a condition called uterine prolapse.

  • If you are diagnosed with conditions like hyperplasia or adenomyosis that affect the lining of the uterus.

  • Prevention of cancerous growth or other abnormalities in the uterus or cervix.

Different types of Hysterectomy

The following are the different Hysterectomy types.

  • Partial Hysterectomy: In this procedure, your doctor may remove a portion of your uterus. However, generally, the cervix is left intact.

  • Total Hysterectomy: In this procedure, the entire uterus is removed, including the cervix.

  • Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy: In this procedure, the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed. Since ovaries are responsible for estrogen production, after this procedure, hormone therapy may be required.

List of different surgical procedures for Hysterectomy

The different types of Hysterectomy surgery include the following.

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy: This type of Hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus through a large incision in the abdomen.

  • Vaginal Hysterectomy: This form of Hysterectomy is carried out by removing the uterus through a small incision in the vagina.

  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy: In this approach, a laparoscope is used to remove the uterus. A laparoscopy is a tube-like instrument with a bright light and a camera.

  • Radical Hysterectomy: In this surgery, the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed. It is usually done using a vertical or low transverse incision.

  • Robot-assisted laparoscopic Hysterectomy: In this technique, a robot is operated externally by the doctor to carry out a laparoscopic procedure to remove the uterus.

What is involved in a Hysterectomy procedure?

Here’s a step-wise description of a typical Hysterectomy procedure.

Step 1: At the beginning of the procedure, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown.

Step 2: You will be hooked up to an electrocardiogram to monitor your heart rate.

Step 3: An intravenous line (IV) will be inserted into your arm to deliver fluids and medications.

Step 4: General or regional anaesthesia will be administered to block out the pain of undergoing the procedure.

Step 5: After that, one of the previously mentioned Hysterectomy surgery types will be performed as per your doctor's recommendation.

What transpires after a Hysterectomy?

How much time you spend in the hospital post a Hysterectomy depends on the type of procedure you have undergone. Generally, your doctor may want to stay back to monitor you for complications like bleeding or blood clots. Also, you may be asked to start walking around to prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs.

If you have undergone an abdominal Hysterectomy, you may be requested by your doctor to stay in the hospital for a few more days for observation. Conversely, if you have undergone a laparoscopic or vaginal Hysterectomy, it may be done as a daycare procedure. Either way, make sure to enquire regarding the dos and don’ts of recovery before leaving the hospital.

Advantages and disadvantages of Hysterectomy

The following are the key advantages and disadvantages of undergoing a Hysterectomy.

Advantages of undergoing a Hysterectomy

  • A Hysterectomy procedure can stop or reduce chronic pelvic pain or irregular bleeding.

  • If you have the risk of developing uterine cancer, undergoing a Hysterectomy can lower the risks and possibly even be life-saving.

Disadvantages of undergoing Hysterectomy

  • Hysterectomy comes with its risks and side effects.

  • You may never be able to bear children again after undergoing the procedure.

Most common side effects of a Hysterectomy

In rare cases, side effects may ensue after a Hysterectomy procedure. In such cases, the Hysterectomy side effects usually include the following.

  • Anaesthesia-related problems

  • Severe infection

  • Hot flashes

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Blood clots

  • Urinary tract injury

  • Bleeding

  • Loss of libido

  • Torn internal stitches

  • Bowel blockage

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

Advice for those recovering from Hysterectomy

The following are some tips if you are recovering from a Hysterectomy. Nevertheless, kindly seek your doctor’s advice before following these.

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects for up to four to six weeks after your Hysterectomy.

  • You may experience mild vaginal bleeding for around one to six weeks. So, make use of a sanitary pad or a pantiliner to absorb the discharge.

  • While taking a bath, ensure that you wash the incision with soap and water.

  • Avoid having sex and inserting objects into your vagina for about four to six weeks.

  • You may be able to resume physical exercise after the completion of six weeks from the procedure.

  • It may take about two weeks for you to start driving again. However, if you have had a laparoscopic or vaginal Hysterectomy, this duration may be shorter.

  • Depending on your type of job, you should be able to resume work within three weeks of the treatment.

Frequently asked questions

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Hysterectomy.

What is the meaning of Hysterectomy?

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Hysterectomy is a procedure that involves the partial or complete removal of the uterus. There are different types of surgeries under Hysterectomy. So, to know the exact Hysterectomy meaning according to the type of surgery prescribed for you, kindly consult your doctor.

How does it feel after having a Hysterectomy done?

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After a Hysterectomy, it is normal to experience slight vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks and discomfort at the site of the incision for up to four weeks. Scarring is also normal. Laparoscopy procedures usually cause less visible scarring as compared to abdominal ones. Menopause is another aftereffect and is usually medically combated using hormone replacement therapy.

Beyond these physical changes, a Hysterectomy usually causes varied emotional reactions. Hence, make sure to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider and get the relevant help you need.

How long does a Hysterectomy procedure last?

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A Hysterectomy procedure generally lasts about one to two hours. However, before the procedure, some time may be spent getting prepared for the operation.

Does Hysterectomy surgery cause bloating?

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Yes, Hysterectomy surgery sometimes causes bloating and gassiness in the stomach. If you experience these side effects, you can discuss with your doctor about what you can do about it.

Does a Hysterectomy cause menopause?

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Yes, a Hysterectomy usually causes menopause. This is because the procedure involves the partial or complete removal of the uterus and other organs that are essential for menstruation and childbirth.

What is a total abdominal Hysterectomy?

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A total abdominal Hysterectomy is a surgery that involves the removal of the cervix and uterus.

What are the steps for vaginal Hysterectomy?

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The usual vaginal Hysterectomy steps include the following.

  • An incision is made in the vagina to remove the uterus.

  • The opening caused by the incision is generally closed using dissolvable stitches.

  • This procedure is usually recommended by doctors in the case of uterine prolapse and other non-cancerous conditions.

  • Vaginal Hysterectomy usually causes the least injury and offers the fastest recovery.

  • It is usually undertaken as a daycare procedure and so is comparatively hassle-free.

After a Hysterectomy surgery, what fills the place of the uterus?

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After a Hysterectomy surgery, the place of the uterus is filled by surrounding organs like the large and small intestines.

Reference: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8188977/

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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