Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the womb (uterus). It may also involve removal of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes and other surrounding structures. You’ll no longer be able to get pregnant after the operation.

Need of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomies are carried out to treat conditions that affect the female reproductive system, including:

  • Heavy periods
  • Long-term pelvic pain
  • Non-cancerous tumours (fibroids)
  • Ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer or cancer of the fallopian tubes

A hysterectomy is a major operation with a long recovery time and is only considered after alternative, less invasive, treatments have been tried.

Things to consider

If you have a hysterectomy, as well as having your womb removed, you may have to decide whether to also have your cervix or ovaries removed.

Your decision will usually be based on your personal feelings, medical history and any recommendations your doctor may have.

Types of hysterectomy

There are various types of hysterectomy. The type you have depends on why you need the operation and how much of your womb and surrounding reproductive system can safely be left in place.

Total hysterectomy – the womb and cervix (neck of the womb) are removed; this is the most commonly performed operation

Subtotal hysterectomy – the main body of the womb is removed, leaving the cervix in place

total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – the womb, cervix, fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) and the ovaries (oophorectomy) are removed

Radical hysterectomy – the womb and surrounding tissues are removed, including the fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, ovaries, lymph glands and fatty tissue

Complications of a Hysterectomy

There’s a small risk of complications, including:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to your bladder or bowel
  • Serious reaction to the general anaesthetic

Recovering from a Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a major operation. You can be in hospital for up to five days after surgery, and it takes about six to eight weeks to fully recover. Recovery times can also vary, depending on the type of hysterectomy.