What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus. The ovaries may or may not be removed along with the uterus, depending on the specific desires and issues the patient has. A hysterectomy may be recommended for a number of reasons, including heavy periods, fibroid tumors, pelvic pain, or endometriosis. After a hysterectomy, a woman will no longer be able to bear children.
Types of Hysterectomy Procedures
- Complete (Total) Hysterectomy. This is the most common form of hysterectomy performed and involves removing the cervix (the lowest part of the uterus that connects to the vagina) as well as the uterus.
- Partial (Subtotal or Supracervical) Hysterectomy. With a supracervical hysterectomy, the cervix is left in place and only the upper portion of the uterus is removed.
- Radical Hysterectomy. Parts of the vagina and supporting tissues are removed along with the uterus and cervix. This type of hysterectomy is usually indicated when cancer is present.
In some cases, one or both ovaries and the fallopian tubes will be removed as well. Hysterectomies may be performed through abdominal or vaginal incisions, or more preferably laparoscopically. A laparoscopic hysterectomy has the shortest recovery time.
After a Hysterectomy
Having a hysterectomy will stop a woman from having her monthly period. If the ovaries are removed, women may experience symptoms of menopause which include hot flashes and vaginal dryness. If a woman has not reached menopause and has her ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, she will enter menopause at that time. Menopausal symptoms can be readily treated with a variety of hormonal supplements such as bio identical hormone pellets.