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Alternative namesVaginal hysterectomy; Abdominal hysterectomy; Removal of the uterus
DefinitionA hysterectomy is a surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in the inability to become pregnant (sterility). It may be done through the abdomen or the vagina .
Hysterectomy is an operation that is commonly performed. However, there are often non-surgical approaches to treat certain causes of pelvic pain or bleeding. Talk to your doctor about non-surgical treatments to try first, especially if the recommendation for a hysterectomy is for a cause other than cancer.
During a hysterectomy, the uterus may be completely or partially removed. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed. A partial (or supracervical) hysterectomy is removal of just the upper portion of the uterus, leaving the cervix intact.
A total hysterectomy is removal of the entire uterus and the cervix. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, the tissue on both sides of the cervix (parametrium), and the upper part of the vagina.
A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal incision (abdominal hysterectomy), a vaginal incision (vaginal hysterectomy), or through laparoscopic incisions (small incisions on the abdomen -- laparoscopic hysterectomy).
Your physician will help you decide which type of hysterectomy is most appropriate for you, depending on your medical history and the reason for your surgery.
Hysterectomy may be recommended for:
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Other risks that are possible from a hysterectomy include:
Expectations after surgery
Most patients recover completely from hysterectomy. Removal of the ovaries along with the uterus in premenopausal women causes immediate menopause , and estrogen replacement therapy may be recommended.
The average hospital stay depends on the type of hysterectomy performed, but is usually from 2 to 3 days. Complete recovery may require 2 weeks to 2 months. Recovery from a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy is faster than from an abdominal hysterectomy, and may include less pain.
Intravenous and oral medications are used after the surgery to relieve postoperative pain. A catheter may remain in place for 1 to 2 days to help the bladder pass urine. Moving about as soon as possible helps to avoid blood clots in the legs and other problems.
Walking to the bathroom as soon as possible is recommended. Normal diet is encouraged as soon as possible after bowel function returns. Avoid lifting heavy objects for a few weeks following surgery. Sexual intercourse should be avoided for 6 to 8 weeks after a hysterectomy.
Update Date: 1/16/2004Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by Catherine S. Bradley, M.D., Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (1/30/2002).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT