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).
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 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a hysterectomy?
After your hysterectomy, your healthcare provider should provide:
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.
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