A Hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus or womb. A Hysterectomy may be recommended as a treatment for:
Hysterectomy is also performed in the treatment of various gynaecological cancers.
Types Of Hysterectomy
There are three types of hysterectomy
Vaginal Hysterectomy, and
Your surgeon has particular expertise in the procedure called a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy after having trained and worked in an advanced laparoscopic unit for many years.
What Is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?
Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure for the removal of the uterus and cervix. In this technique, the uterus is separated from its attachments to the pelvis and removed through the vagina.
The ovaries and fallopian tubes can also be removed, your surgeon will discuss these options with you.
Why Is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Performed?
Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is done to treat conditions such as
You should clearly understand the reason for this surgery.
How Is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Performed?
The procedure is done under general anesthesia in the operating room.
A small incision is made just below your umbilicus. The abdomen is inflated with gas and a fibre-optic instrument called laparoscope is inserted to view the internal organs.
Further, small incisions may be made on your abdomen through which tiny surgical instruments are passed. Then, the uterus and cervix are removed along with or without both ovaries and tubes.
The current recommendation is to concurrently remove both tubes as this has been shown to be associated with a lower incidence of ovarian cancer. Total operating time is about 90 minutes.
Ask For A Second Opinion
Your surgeon performs 99% of hysterectomies as a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy procedure.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy has benefits such as:
Shorter Recovery Time,
Faster Return to Usual Activities,
Reduced Postop Pain,
Minimal Scarring, and
Less Post-op Adhesion Risk
Few gynaecologists have the skills necessary to perform a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.
Most hysterectomies in Australia are still performed open (Open Abdominal Hysterectomy).
Please make an appointment to see me for a second opinion if you have been advised to have an Open Abdominal Hysterectomy and before you commit to having a large scar.
Alternatives To A Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
There are other conservative interventions which may be appropriate for your particular condition.
your surgeon will discuss the other options with you to help you make a well-informed decision regarding what is right for you.
your surgeon will discuss with you the role for removal of the ovaries.
Removal of the ovaries is recommended for women over the age of 50 years. If the ovaries are not removed you will not experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and night sweats.
What Precautions Should Be Taken Before A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?
You can continue taking your regular medications unless your surgeon advises otherwise. If you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication your surgeon will recommend that you discontinue this one week prior to surgery.
You will need to have a bowel preparation which will empty your bowel before the surgery. For this, you should be on a liquid diet (soups, jellies, juices or similar drinks) for 24 hours before the surgery. Our Practice Manager will provide you with instructions on this.
You will be admitted to the hospital on the day of your operation. You will meet the anaesthetist to discuss the anaesthetic and any concerns you may have.
What Can Be Expected During The Recovery Period?
You will be in the recovery room when you wake up from anesthesia. You may feel sleepy for the next few hours. You may have pain in the shoulder or back which is because of the gas used in the procedure. It resolves within a day or two. You will start eating and drinking normally within a short period of time.
You may have some discomfort or feel tired for a few days after the procedure. Constipation is very common. You will be in the hospital for two days following the procedure. your surgeon will ensure that your stay in hospital is as comfortable as possible.
Contact your surgeon if pain and nausea do not go away or is becoming worse. You should avoid strenuous activities or exercise until you recover completely. Most women will take two weeks off work and return to work at the start of the third week. your surgeon will review you again one week after your discharge from hospital.
You may have some vaginal discharge (old blood) for several days after the procedure. You can return to normal activity after two weeks but complete recovery may take longer. After the procedure, you will no longer be menstruating and be unable to conceive. Avoid intercourse for 6 weeks - to allow the top of vagina adequate time to heal.
Many women are concerned with a possible change to sex. Many women can feel liberated now they are free of troublesome bleeding, pain with periods, discomfort from prolapse and no further need for contraception. Libido can be improved with an improvement in wellbeing.
Possible Risks Of A Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?
As with any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and complications which include:
Problems due to the anaesthesia
Injury to the internal organs - 1/1000 risk of inadvertent damage to bladder, bowel or ureter
Any specific risks and complications will be discussed prior to the procedure.
What Is Vaginal Hysterectomy?
Vaginal hysterectomy is an alternative surgical procedure for abdominal hysterectomy. In this procedure, the uterus is removed through the vagina rather than through the incision in the abdomen.
What are the advantages of the vaginal hysterectomy over abdominal hysterectomy?
Recovery following vaginal hysterectomy is much faster than abdominal hysterectomy. You may be discharged from the hospital in a day or two and you can return to your daily activities within a few weeks after the surgery.
Who Are The Good Candidates For Vaginal Hysterectomy?
Individuals with the following conditions and those who don’t have an enlarged uterus are considered as eligible candidates for vaginal hysterectomy,
Uterine Prolapse: It is the protrusion of the uterus from the pelvic cavity into the vaginal canal due to weakening of the muscles and connective tissues that hold the uterus in place. It is often seen in women who had one or more vaginal births.
Endometriosis: It is abnormal growth of the endometrium, the membrane lining the uterus, on surfaces of other organs in the pelvis such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, pelvic cavity lining, vagina, cervix, vulva, bladder or rectum.
Cervical Dysplasia: It is the premalignant condition of the cells lining the cervix.
Uterine Fibroids: They are the non-cancerous growths in the uterus. If the fibroids are large, abdominal hysterectomy is required.
How Is Vaginal Hysterectomy Performed?
You may be given general or regional anaesthesia. An incision is made in the vagina and the uterus is removed through it. The incision in the vagina is then closed with absorbable stitches.
What Are The Risks Of The Vaginal Hysterectomy?
Vaginal hysterectomy is generally safe. Complications may include infection, blood loss, a blood clot usually in the leg vein or damage to the nearby organs in the abdomen and pelvic regions such as urinary bladder, ureter or bowel.
Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the chances of complications due to surgery.
What To Expect After The Vaginal Hysterectomy?
Recovery after vaginal hysterectomy is fast. Medicines are prescribed for pain and to prevent infection.
Bleeding from the vagina is normal and will last for a few weeks after the surgery. Use of sanitary pads should be preferred as tampons increase the risk of infection. You will not have periods and cannot conceive after the vaginal hysterectomy.
If ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed along with uterus in vaginal hysterectomy you may have vaginal dryness or hot flushes, the symptoms of menopause.
These may be treated with medicines if required. You will be able to do normal activities in around two weeks after the surgery but should not lift heavy objects or have vaginal intercourse until the sixth-week postoperatively.
A 10 cm incision is made in the lower abdomen. This is performed if the uterus is significantly enlarged by numerous fibroids or if there is gross pelvic pathology including adhesions. It is also performed in cases of cancer.
What Are The Advantages Of Abdominal Hysterectomy
The main advantage is to the surgeon who has greater access to the pelvis. The procedure lasts about 60-90 minutes.
What Can I Expect From An Abdominal Hysterectomy
You will be in the hospital for about 3 days. It will be about 4 weeks to recover at home. Most women will return to work by the start of the 5th week.
What If I Come Across Any Problem During The Recovery Period?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the below-mentioned conditions:
Offensive vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding
Severe nausea or vomiting
Inability to empty your bladder or bowels