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:
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:
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.