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At Columbus OB/GYN, we want to provide you with all the information you need about a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy can solve problems of the uterus that have not responded to other treatments.

Usually, it is the last resort after other attempts to improve the condition have been ineffective. This can be an emergency procedure that needs to be done for your safety. Since a hysterectomy is a major surgery, it is important to know the facts about what the procedure entails and what to expect.

What Is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part or all of a woman’s uterus. It is a major surgery. There are several different kinds of hysterectomies:

Total Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part or all of a woman’s uterus. It is a major surgery. There are several different kinds of hysterectomies:

Supracervical Hysterectomy

A procedure where the upper part of the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place.

Hysterectomy with Removal of Ovaries and Fallopian Tubes

A hysterectomy does not include the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. However, sometimes they are removed at the same time the uterus is removed.

Reasons for a Hysterectomy

The uterus may be removed to treat certain conditions that affect it, such as:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pelvic pain

Since hysterectomies are major surgeries, it is important that they are only performed as a last resort due to the risks surgeries present.

The Hysterectomy Procedure

The way your doctor chooses to perform your hysteroscopy will depend on what condition is affecting your uterus and your general physical health. There are three different ways to perform a hysteroscopy:

Vaginal Hysteroscopy

During this procedure, the uterus is removed through the vagina. Vaginal hysterectomy only makes an incision in the vagina, meaning that the healing time is much faster than that of those performed through the abdomen. They also cause fewer complications and allow for shorter hospital stays. However, they cannot be performed on women with larger uteruses or adhesions (scars) from past surgeries.

Abdominal Hysterectomy

This procedure is used oftentimes on women with tumors or types of cancer. Abdominal hysterectomies are performed by making an incision either horizontally or vertically in the lower abdomen to reach the uterus. Abdominal hysterectomies are a good way for your doctor to get a clear view of your uterus, but they may have a longer healing time and hospital stay.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

A laparoscopic hysterectomy uses a thin, telescope-like device with a camera on the end called a laparoscope that is inserted into the abdomen to guide the surgery. The camera is connected to a screen, which gives the doctor a large picture of your uterus to see. Separate small incisions may also be made for tools to be inserted. 

Laparoscopic surgery has many benefits over abdominal surgery. However, the surgery may take a longer time, which can cause complications the longer the patient is under general anesthesia. There are three different types of this procedure:

  • Total laparoscopic hysterectomy- The laparoscope is inserted below the navel, and other small tools are inserted in other various places below it. The uterus is then detached from the wall and removed from the body in pieces passed out through the vagina. The cervix may be left in place.
  • Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy- The uterus and cervix are removed through the vagina, and the ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed with laparoscopy and passed out through the vagina.
  • Robot-Assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy- sometimes, a robot can be attached to the laparoscope to assist with the surgery and the surgeons. This technology is still relatively new, and more research is needed as to whether or not robotic surgery has certain benefits.

What to Expect During a Hysterectomy

Before your surgery, you will have tests and a physical to assess your current health. Your doctor may run tests on you or order chest X-rays. A few days before, your doctor might tell you to take a bowel prep and to eat very lightly. On the day of your surgery, when you arrive at the hospital:

You may experience slight bleeding and discharge from the vagina for several weeks afterward, for which you should use a sanitary pad, NOT a tampon. Follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully while you are recovering.

Do not put anything inside your vagina for the following six weeks, including tampons, having sex, and douching. You should be able to return to normal activities as you heal slowly.

Hysterectomies can cause both short-term and long-term physical and mental effects. This will depend on your age and whether or not your ovaries are removed.

The Physical and Emotional Implications of a Hysterectomy

Physical effects

If your ovaries are not removed, and you have not gone through menopause yet, they will still continue to produce estrogen. However, if they were removed and you have not yet reached menopause, you might need hormone replacement therapy to make up for the lost estrogen.

Emotional effects

Some women experience emotional pain after receiving a hysterectomy because it means they can no longer have children. However, if your depression lasts more than several weeks, you should call your doctor.

Sexual effects

Some women notice that their sexual response changes when they receive a hysterectomy because the uterine contractions accompanying orgasms are no longer present.


Contact Columbus OB/GYN to Discuss Your Health Concern

A hysterectomy is a serious surgery only used as a treatment after all other options are tried. Although it is an extremely safe surgery, complications can still arise. Our compassionate healthcare professionals at Columbus OB/GYN can help you decide if a hysterectomy is right for you.