to view an animated version of this procedure.
Hysterectomy is the surgical term for the removal of the uterus (womb). This results in the inability to become pregnant. The surgery may be done through the abdomen or the vagina.
This type of surgery can be:
Partial or subtotal hysterectomy—removal of the uterus (without removing the cervix) Total, complete, or simple hysterectomy—removal of the uterus and cervix (the opening of the uterus leading to the vagina) Radical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper part of the vagina, and the pelvic lymph nodes Salpingo-oophorectomy
—removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (may be combined with any of the above procedures)
You may have a hysterectomy if your uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. Some reasons a woman may have a hysterectomy are to:
—noncancerous tumors that grow in the muscle of the uterus
uterine fibroids Treat chronic pelvic pain Treat heavy bleeding
Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.
If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Reactions to anesthesia Pain Infection Bleeding Fatigue Injured pelvic organs (bowel and/or bladder) Urinary incontinence
(problems controlling your urine)
Loss of ovarian function and early menopause Depression Sexual dysfunction
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Obesity Smoking Heart or lung disease Diabetes Previous pelvic surgery or serious infection Use of medicines during the past month
Discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.
Your doctor may do the following:
Blood and urine tests X-ray
of abdomen and kidneys—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
—a test that uses sound waves to show organs in the abdomen
(D&C)—surgical removal of tissue from the lining of the uterus
Dilation and curettage Ask you to use an enema to clean out the intestines
You should do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
If instructed, take antibiotics. Arrange for a ride home and for help at home. Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
The doctor will make a small cut near the navel to insert a laparoscope (instrument with a camera on the end). This device will allow the doctor to see the pelvic organs. To better view the organs, the abdomen will be inflated with carbon dioxide. The doctor will make more small cuts in the abdomen. Through these cuts, other small tools will be inserted. A cut will also be made where the uterus joins the vagina. The bladder and rectum will be gently pushed off the uterus. The uterus will then be removed through the cut in the vagina. Lastly, the doctor will close the cut with stitches.
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
A "packing" is placed in the vagina. This will be removed after 1-2 days.
In some cases, the doctor may switch to
. open surgery
You will be given IV fluids and medicines.
You will likely have pain, fullness, bloating, and vaginal bleeding or discharge during the first few days. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
You may be able to leave the hospital on the same day or the next day. You will stay longer if you have complications.
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
On the first night, the nurse will help you sit up and walk. During the next morning, the IV will be removed if you are eating and drinking well. You may need to wear special socks or boots to help prevent blood clots. You may have a foley catheter for a short time to help you urinate.
When at home, do the following:
Follow your doctor's
Take proper care of the incision site. This will help to prevent an infection. Take showers instead of baths. However, baths are allowed. During the first two weeks, rest and avoid lifting. Slowly increase your activities. Begin with light chores and short walks. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work. Check with your doctor to see when it is safe to drive again.
Eat a diet rich in
. Ask your doctor if you need to take
fruits and vegetables
Ask your doctor when you can use tampons. Also ask about
Kegel exercises Wait six weeks before resuming sexual activity.
If you still have a cervix, you will still need regular
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, leakage, or any discharge from the incision site Incision opens up Nausea and/or vomiting Dizziness or fainting Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain Heavy bleeding Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine Swelling, redness, or pain in your leg
In case of an emergency,
Last reviewed October 2009 by
Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.