A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of your uterus (womb). It may also involve removing one or both of your fallopian tubes and one or both of your ovaries.
It is one of the most common gynaecological operations.
After the operation you will no longer have periods or be able to conceive.
What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is major surgery performed by a gynaecologist to remove your womb. It may be recommended to treat a number of conditions that affect the female reproductive system and when other treatments haven’t been successful, including:
• Heavy, frequent or painful periods
• Long-term pelvic pain
• Non-cancerous tumours called fibroids
• A prolapsed womb, where weakened ligaments and muscles cause the womb to drop
• Cancer of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries
Most often a total hysterectomy is performed where your womb and cervix are removed. Other options are: a subtotal hysterectomy when the main part of your womb is removed and your cervix is left in place and, a radical hysterectomy when your womb and its surrounding tissues including fallopian tubes, part of your vagina, ovaries and lymph glands are removed.
What does a Hysterectomy surgery involve?
There are several ways to perform a hysterectomy. All are typically performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will recommend the best procedure for you:
• Vaginal hysterectomy - your womb is removed through an incision in the top of your vagina.
Your surgeon will make a cut in the top of your vagina and take out your cervix and womb through the cut. They will then close the cut in your vagina using stitches.
A vaginal hysterectomy is usually preferred over an abdominal hysterectomy as it is a less invasive procedure and patients benefit from a shorter stay in hospital and a quicker recovery time.
• Abdominal hysterectomy - your womb is removed through a cut in your lower abdomen.
Your surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen and remove your uterus and any other reproductive organs that may be causing problems. They will then close the wound using stitches or staples.
An abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended if you have fibroids or pelvic tumours in your womb that cannot be removed through your vagina or if your ovaries need to be removed.
• Laparoscopic hysterectomy – your womb is removed through your vagina via small incisions in your abdomen. It is usually takes around 60 to 90 minutes.
Your surgeon will make several small incisions in your abdomen. They will gently inflate your abdomen using gas so that your surgeon can see inside better. A long, thin tube connected to a light and camera, called a laparoscope, and surgical instruments are inserted in your abdomen to remove your womb, cervix and any other parts of your reproductive system. Your wounds are then closed with stitches or staples.
This is typically the preferred treatment method for removing organs and surrounding tissues of your reproductive system as patients benefit from a faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, less scarring and less pain and bleeding after the operation.
What complications can happen after a Hysterectomy?
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications occurring and include: heavy bleeding, infection, damage to your bladder, bowel or ureter and a serious reaction to the general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will discuss these in detail with you.
Your length of stay in hospital and recovery time will be based on your health and the type of hysterectomy you have.
If you have a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy, you may be able to go home after one to four days. Full recovery will be quicker than an abdominal hysterectomy and you should be able to return to work between two and six weeks after your operation, depending on how you feel and your job type. You will probably feel well enough to drive after two to four weeks.
If you have an abdominal hysterectomy, you will usually stay in hospital for up to five days. You can expect a full recovery to take about six to eight weeks. You should feel comfortable enough to drive after around three to six weeks.
You will be given information and advice about suitable forms of exercise during your recovery. It’s generally recommended that you don’t have sex until your scars have healed, any vaginal discharge has stopped and you feel comfortable to do so.
Hysterectomy with Tees Valley Hospital
Tees Valley Hospital offers fast appointments within 72 hours with one of our leading gynaecologists. Your diagnosis and hysterectomy can then be performed without waiting so you can start your recovery and return to your everyday activities.
We have three laminar flow theatres, a dedicated endoscopy suite and private en-suite rooms in our new and modern hospital.
You can rest-assured you’ll receive the best quality care provided by our trained, experienced and compassionate clinical team.
Contact us to book an appointment.