Uterine fibroids are responsible for more hysterectomies than any other health condition. Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Cancer and endometriosis are also commonly treated by hysterectomy, but are not nearly as prevalent in the female population as fibroids. These are the most common types of hysterectomy for fibroids.
In a total hysterectomy, the entire uterus and cervix are removed. Total hysterectomy can be done abdominally with an incision most often made along the bikini line. This procedure requires a longer healing time, approximately 2 months for full recovery. A total hysterectomy can also be performed vaginally, which does not require a large incision through the belly. Recovery time is roughly 3 weeks to 1 month.
A sub-total hysterectomy, also known as a partial hysterectomy, leaves the cervix intact but the rest of the uterus is removed. Many doctors remove the cervix automatically as a precaution against cervical cancer. These procedures can be performed abdominally, vaginally, or laparoscopically.
This operation is the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is a separate decision which a patient and her doctor make before the surgery is performed. There are several considerations to think about before consenting to this surgery. This surgery causes an artificial onset menopause due to the loss of natural sex hormones. If this is the only choice available, look into methods of regaining hormonal balance through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and other support measures.
This procedure is performed through an incision in the stomach. It is the most common form and typically requires the longest recovery time.
This procedure is performed through the vagina. Whether your doctor performs the procedure vaginally or with a small incision in the abdomen will depend on the size of the uterus and the causes of surgery to begin with.
The newer and more sophisticated procedures use laparoscopy to assist the hysterectomy procedure. During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the organs are visualized and manipulated through a laparoscope, and the uterus is removed either vaginally or through a small incision in the abdomen. This type of surgery results in a much quicker recovery, (typically 1 to 2 weeks) with far less disruption of the bowel and pelvic floor. It is best performed by a laparoscopic specialist, someone that performs this type of surgery often, as not all surgeons are as skilled at this procedure. The choice here depends on the reasons for doing the surgery, the patient’s anatomy, and the surgeon’s preference. If you have a personal preference, definitely communicate this to your surgeon.
If your doctor has suggested that you have a hysterectomy, arm yourself with knowledge. Learning the details about the different hysterectomy surgical options available today can help you make the treatment decision that’s best for you.
Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy Options
Your doctor may recommend one of these four approaches to a minimally invasive hysterectomy: 1-Vaginal hysterectomy, 2-Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy, 3-Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy, 4-Robotic-assisted hysterectomy.
Which Hysterectomy Surgery Option Is Right for You?
If you’re considering having a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each surgical option and ask which one may be most appropriate for you. The answer, Soper says, will depend on the reason for your hysterectomy as well as your lifestyle and overall health.