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Hysterectomy: When is it Necessary?

Hysterectomy: When is it Necessary?

Unfortunately, there is a negative connotation when it comes to the medical term, “hysterectomy.” Ultimately, this is because this surgical procedure prevents women from becoming pregnant. However, there are some cases where a hysterectomy is necessary or recommended for health purposes. Essentially, it’s important that women understand the process and when it may be necessary to get this surgical procedure done.

What is a Hysterectomy? 

Simply put, a hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the uterus. In some cases, the procedure involves the removal of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other surrounding areas. Essentially, there are 3 categories: supracervical, total, and radical.

Supracervical: This process involves a surgeon removing only the upper part of the uterus.

Total: This process involves a surgeon removing the whole uterus and cervix.

Radical: This process involves a surgeon removing not only the uterus, but tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and top of the vagina. Surgeons only perform a radical hysterectomy when cancer is present.


Surgical Process of a Hysterectomy

There are various surgical options. Today, there are relatively many minimally invasive options as opposed to the traditional abdominal hysterectomy.

Vaginal Hysterectomy:

This procedure involves a surgeon disconnecting the uterus from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper vagina, and blood vessels. This then allows the surgeon to remove the uterus through the vagina. A vaginal hysterectomy is an ideal option as it is a shorter procedure and has a lower complication rate as compared to other procedures. Additionally, healing time takes up to two weeks.

What are the Risks?

Some risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots in legs or lungs
  • Damage to surrounding organs

Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy:

This procedure involves a surgeon making small incisions in the abdomen, which allows the surgeon to then insert a laparoscope to visualize the organs. This helps with the removal of the uterus. The surgeon removes the uterus through the incision. Healing time takes up to two weeks for this procedure as well.

What are the Risks?

Some risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Pelvic abscess
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Peritonitis

Robotic-assisted Hysterectomy: 

This is an alternative way to perform a laparoscopic hysterectomy. This procedure involves the surgeon making small abdominal incisions, which then allows the surgeon to insert surgical instruments with a camera. From there, the surgeon uses a computer that shows the organs in 3-D and allows the surgeon to direct the instruments. A robotic arm performs the surgery by matching the surgeon’s hand movements. A robotic-assisted hysterectomy is an excellent option as it allows for precise movements. The recovery time for this procedure is two weeks or less.

What are the Risks?

Some risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to other organs inside the abdomen
  • Blood clots that travel to your legs with the possibility of it traveling to your lungs as well

Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy: 

This procedure involves a surgeon making small abdominal and vaginal incisions. A laparoscope along with other surgical instruments are inserted in the abdomen in order to cut the uterus. The uterus is then removed from the vagina. It’s important to note that this type of surgery can be a longer operation; however, women tend to recover in less time.

What are the Risks?

Some risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Blood clots in the veins or lungs
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Uterine prolapse

closeup of anesthesia mask operating room

Abdominal Hysterectomy: 

Often called, “open-surgery,” this procedure ultimately gives surgeons the best view of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and surrounding organs. Because of the increased risk, doctors generally recommend this procedure to women who have cancer, uterine fibroids that are too large, women who have had a cesarean birth, or women with a lot of scarring from previous surgeries. In an abdominal hysterectomy, the surgeon makes a 5-7-inch incision across the lower abdomen in order to remove the uterus. Following this procedure, women typically stay in the hospital for a few days. Additionally, it can take up to 4-6 weeks before you can proceed with your normal routine.

What are the Risks?

Some risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Damage to the urinary tract, rectum, bladder, or pelvic structure during surgery
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

When is a Hysterectomy Necessary?

There are various reasons why a woman may want to get a hysterectomy. Ultimately, the procedure may improve your overall quality of life. Women may want to consider the surgery if they experience excessive or abnormal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding can cause discomfort and pain, which can be taxing on the body. Additionally, a hysterectomy will eradicate the issue of uterine fibroids and other growths that can cause long-term discomfort.

Another reason why women may want to consider a hysterectomy is if they have a history of cancer in their family or have experienced cancer growths themselves. The surgery will prevent the possibility of any future uterine cancer. Moreover, doctors can use the procedure to treat uterine prolapse, which is when the uterus descends into or beyond the vagina.

It’s important to note that a hysterectomy is always an option for women. However, in cases such as cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer, doctors will highly recommend that women move forward with the surgery.

If you are a woman considering getting a hysterectomy or are preparing for one in the near future, it is important that you understand the process, along with the surgical options that are available to you. Ultimately, health and safety are top priorities for every individual. With that said, a hysterectomy is sometimes in a woman’s best interest.

Please note that it is important to always be knowledgeable of any surgery you are considering and be sure to talk with a trusted medical professional before proceeding forward. OBP is a leading, global developer of single-use, self-contained, medical devices. If you have any questions about the surgical procedure of a hysterectomy or you want to know more information about our medical devices, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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obp Important Update

obp Medical - including all vaginal specula, anoscopes, laryngoscopes, kits and accessories - has been acquired by CooperSurgical as of 5/3/21. All surgical products – included surgical retractors and suction devices – are now available exclusively through obp Surgical Corporation.