For women suffering from uterine fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometrial cancer or severe pelvic pain, a hysterectomy (surgical procedure removing the uterus) may be recommended. After the procedure women will see a dramatic change in symptoms as well as lessen their risk for certain cancers. Since the uterus is removed in hysterectomy surgery, women can no longer become pregnant following this procedure.
If necessary, the cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries can also be removed during hysterectomy surgery, although you should speak with your physician about all possible health benefits and risks. When the ovaries are removed prior to menopause, there can be an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Patients will also move into early menopause. However, removing the ovaries also lowers the risk of ovarian cancer, as well as certain types of breast cancer.
There are several ways for hysterectomy surgery to be performed, such as:
- Laparoscopic – A small, lighted scope is inserted through a minor incision in the abdomen, allowing the physician to view organs clearly. Using surgical tools, your physician is also able to remove the uterus and/or ovaries though the incision.
- Vaginal – An incision is made in the vagina, allowing the physician to remove the uterus.
- Abdominal – An incision is made in the abdomen to remove the uterus and/or the ovaries.
During your visit, you and your physician will discuss options and determine the best course based on your individual needs, including:
- Overall health
- Patient preference
- Reason for procedure
- Size and location of the uterus
Following surgery, most women will spend zero to three days in the hospital recovering before returning home depending on the way the surgery was performed. For the first couple weeks after hysterectomy surgery, patients will need plenty of rest and should avoid lifting anything heavier than about twenty pounds. Patients should also refrain from sexual intercourse until approved by their physician. For most women, a full return to normal activity levels takes about four to eight weeks.
For More Information
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847.570.5020.