Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in the U.S. For women who have the option, a minimally invasive hysterectomy can reduce scarring and improve recovery time.
A hysterectomy is surgery that removes the uterus and cervix from a woman’s reproductive system. As discussed in the Hysterectomy Overview , there are three surgical methods that are typically used to perform a hysterectomy: abdominal, vaginal and laparoscopic.
• Abdominal surgery is invasive surgery that requires a larger incision to open the abdomen and allow the surgeon direct access to the reproductive organs. This procedure may be necessary if there is cancer present that may have spread into the abdominal cavity, or if a lymph nodes need to be removed from the abdomen.
• Vaginal surgery is a less invasive way to perform a hysterectomy. The vagina, also known as the birth canal, is the passage that leads from the uterus to the outside of the body. During a vaginal hysterectomy, the uterus is cut away from the vagina and is removed from the body through the vagina. This surgery is only possible when the uterus is small enough to pass through the vagina. Because the incision is made inside the vagina, there may be no visible scarring from this type of surgery.
• Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that requires several small incisions in the abdomen instead of a large incision. The surgeon inserts a tiny video camera through one incision which allows him to see the inside of the abdomen on a video monitor. Tiny surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions to perform the surgery. The uterus is removed through one of the small incisions.
• Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy is a procedure that uses laparoscopic instruments to assist with surgery that is done through the vagina. This procedure also allows lymph nodes to be removed from the abdomen through the vagina using the laparoscopic instruments.
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