Why do women get hysterectomies?
While many people think of hysterectomy as a gynecologic cancer treatment, 85 percent are performed to treat non-cancerous conditions. These can include:
Types of hysterectomy
There are different types of hysterectomy. The type needed depends on your diagnosis.
- Partial hysterectomy: The upper part of the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place.
- Total hysterectomy: The entire uterus is removed, including the cervix.
- Radical hysterectomy: The entire uterus is removed, including the cervix, along with structures around the uterus, such as ligaments and some of the vagina. We may recommend this to treat some cancers.
How will my hysterectomy be performed?
Our specialists have the expertise to perform various types of hysterectomies. The type of hysterectomy you have will depend on your individual situation.
In this minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon will insert thin tubes called laparoscopes into keyhole-sized incisions in your abdomen. These tubes contain surgical instruments and a tiny video camera to allow the surgeon to see inside your abdomen. The uterus will be removed through small incisions in your abdomen or vagina.
Most women who have a laparoscopic hysterectomy stay in the hospital one night and can return to work and daily activities in two weeks.
Robotic surgery is one of the most effective, least invasive types of hysterectomy. This type of surgery allows the doctor to better visualize your anatomy and work around delicate and confined structures like the bladder.
In this surgery, the doctor will use a da Vinci robotic high-definition camera to view your organs. The doctor will insert the system’s instruments through keyhole-sized incisions and control the movement from a console. The instruments can move 360 degrees during the procedure to remove the uterus without additional incisions.
This type of hysterectomy typically involves a one-night hospital stay and a return to work and daily activities in two weeks.
In this procedure, the surgeon removes the uterus through an incision in the vagina. The surgeon may use long instruments inserted into the vagina to separate the uterus from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. In this case, no abdominal incision is made.
The surgeon also may perform a laparoscopic or robotic assisted vaginal hysterectomy, in which most of the surgery is done through small abdominal incisions and the uterus is removed through an incision in the vagina.
Women who have a vaginal hysterectomy usually will require a one-night hospital stay and can return to work and daily activities in two weeks.
During this surgery, we will make an incision across your abdomen and remove the uterus. A traditional hysterectomy requires a longer recovery period than other types of hysterectomies because of the length of the incision. About 65 percent of hysterectomies are performed this way.
Most women who have a traditional hysterectomy will need to stay in the hospital for two to four nights. They will be able to return to work and daily activities six weeks after surgery.
Are there alternatives to hysterectomy?
In some cases, you may be able to try medication or other procedures before having a hysterectomy. These alternatives may include:
- Endometrial ablation to treat abnormal uterine bleeding by using a special device to destroy the lining of the uterus (the endometrium).
- Uterine artery embolization to treat uterine fibroids, which works by stopping blood flow to the fibroid, causing it to shrink over time.
Your doctor will walk you through your options, including those that may not be recommended for women who want to become pregnant.