(Surgical Removal of the Uterus [or Womb]; Abdominal Hysterectomy)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
Click here 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.
There are different types of surgeries, such as:
Reasons for Procedure TOP
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:
Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.
Possible Complications TOP
If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
You should do the following:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
You may be given antibiotics just before your surgery.
Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive. This means that small incisions are made, rather than the large incisions that are used during open surgery.
During this procedure, the doctor will make small incisions in the area of your navel and hip bone. A laparoscope (a small tool with a camera on one end) will be inserted through one of the incisions. The tool will allow the doctor to view your pelvic organs on a monitor. Other tools will also be inserted to do the surgery. Next, the doctor will detach the uterus from the cervix. A tool will be used to break down the uterus into smaller pieces. The doctor will then remove this tissue through the small incisions.
Laparoscopic-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy
Similar to the above surgery, the doctor will make small incisions in the abdominal area and insert tools. The doctor will then make an incision in the vagina to help detach the lower portion of the cervix and the uterus. The cervix and uterus will then be removed through the vaginal opening.
A hysterectomy can also be done using robotic technology. Like the laparoscopic procedures, tools are placed through small incisions in the abdominal area. The doctor, though, sits at a console and views the organs via a monitor that displays a 3D image. The surgery is done using a joystick-like device to control the tools.
Immediately After Procedure
You will be given IV fluids and medicines.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
You will not have pain during the surgery because of the anesthesia. During your recovery time, your doctor will give you pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be able to leave the hospital on the same day or the next day. You will stay longer if you have complications.
At the Hospital
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
During the first few days, you may have pain, bloating, vaginal bleeding, and vaginal discharge.
When at home, take these steps to care for yourself:
Note: If the doctor has not removed your cervix, you will need to continue to have Pap smears to check for cervical cancer.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Canadian Medical Association
Hysterectomy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.or... . Published August 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Hysterectomy. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System website. Available at: http://www.stfranc... . Accessed August 16, 2012.
Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. Shawnee Mission Medical Center website. Available at: http://videocenter... . Accessed August 16, 2012.
McCoy K. Robot-assisted laparoscopic procedures. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 30, 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
The treatment: robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy. UC Davis Health System website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.u... . Accessed August 16, 2012.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Andrea Chisholm
Last Updated: 3/15/2013