Hysterectomy is a surgical treatment for conditions that affect the uterus. There are many types of hysterectomies performed. Some are completed through abdominal incisions and some without. The type of hysterectomy depends on the condition. The type of hysterectomy also determines the after effects and recovery. Hysterectomy is considered the ultimate cure for many conditions that affect the uterus, but is nevertheless a major surgical procedure. Alternatives to hysterectomy are considered thoroughly before a hysterectomy is recommended.

What is a hysterectomy?

Simply, hysterectomy means removing the uterus. Partial hysterectomy means that part of the uterus is removed, the part that contains the lining and is responsible for most causes of bleeding. Total hysterectomy means removing the entire uterus, that means the lining and the cervix.  Removing the uterus, whether total or partial, does not mean that the ovaries are removed. When appropriate the ovaries may be removed at the time of a hysterectomy, but not always. After any type of hysterectomy a woman is no longer able to become pregnant.

Why would I have a hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy may be done to treat many conditions that affect the uterus:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic support problems (such as uterine prolapse)
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pelvic pain

Hysterectomy is major surgery, and as with any major surgery, it carries risks. For many of the problems listed previously, other treatments can be tried first.

How is a hysterectomy done?

A hysterectomy can be done in different ways. The way a hysterectomy is performed depends on the reason for the surgery and other factors, including your general health. Sometimes it is not possible to know before the surgery how the hysterectomy will be performed. Conditions which cannot be assessed prior to the surgery can influence which technique would be the safest.

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