Hysterectomy - Abdominal

This surgery involves the removal of a woman's uterus, also known as the womb, through an incision in the abdomen.

This surgery involves the removal of a woman's uterus, also known as the womb, through an incision in the abdomen.

The normal female reproductive system has two ovaries, two fallopian tubes and a uterus (womb).

  • The ovaries are where human eggs are made.
  • The fallopian tubes provide a pathway for the eggs to travel from the ovaries to the uterus.
  • The uterus is where a baby grows during pregnancy.

An abdominal hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the uterus through an incision in the abdomen. The incision can be in the lower abdomen along the bikini line (straight across or horizontal). It can also be in the area of the belly button (straight down or vertical). The type of incision is based on the reason for the surgery, previous surgeries and patient preference.

  • The ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed at the same time as the uterus.
  • A total hysterectomy is a procedure to remove the entire uterus. A partial hysterectomy involves removing only the upper part of the uterus. The cervix (the opening of the uterus) is left in place after a partial hysterectomy.

The uterus can be removed through the vagina, through three or four small incisions in the abdomen (laparoscopically) or through an incision in the lower abdomen. Your healthcare provider may recommend a hysterectomy if you have:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Large fibroids (noncancerous growths on the uterus)
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tube or ovary
  • Uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth
  • Prolapse of the uterus into the vagina
  • Abnormal or precancerous cells
  • An abnormality in the uterus associated with chronic lower abdominal pain that has not responded to conservative/non-surgical treatments

Removing the uterus through the vagina is associated with fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and an easier recovery than when the uterus is removed through the abdomen. However, a vaginal hysterectomy is not always possible, especially if the uterus is large or the removal is related to cancer.

  • You and your healthcare provider should discuss why you need a hysterectomy and what alternative treatments might be available to you.
  • If you need a hysterectomy, you and your healthcare provider should discuss whether your ovaries and fallopian tubes should also be removed.
  • You may need to take hormone supplements if your ovaries are removed and you have not gone through menopause. Hormones can help you avoid the symptoms of early menopause and bone loss.

Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the procedure, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking. Smoking can interfere with your recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.

  • General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia for a hysterectomy. This is when you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything.
  • Other types of anesthesia may be used during this surgery, but they are less common.

An abdominal hysterectomy typically takes a few hours. You will spend a few days in the hospital after surgery. If the surgery is related to cancer, you may need to spend a longer time in the hospital after the surgery.

  • Recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy typically takes four to six weeks. The recovery may be longer if the surgery was related to a cancer diagnosis.
  • You may need pain medication and help at home while you recover.
  • Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a hysterectomy?

  • What is the reason for the surgery? What nonsurgical alternatives are available to me? What are the benefits and risks of each?
  • Are you removing all or part of my uterus? Will I need pap smears in the future?
  • Do my ovaries need to be removed? Will I need to take hormone replacement?
  • Is there any special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What kind of anesthesia will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications to this surgery?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activities? How long until I can get back to my normal activities?

After your hysterectomy, your healthcare provider should provide:

  • A description of any problems found during the procedure
  • How any problems were addressed
  • What symptoms you should report before your next appointment

You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Your gynecologist should also let your primary care physician know the details of your surgery and treatment plan.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Womb Removal
Uterus Removal
Removal of Womb
Removal of Uterus
Hysterectomy - Abdominal
Abdominal Hysterectomy

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