Hysterectomy may be recommended for uterine cancer when all other treatment options have failed. It is also mostly reserved for women who already have children or are not willing to have more kids.
The most common reasons for a hysterectomy are as follows:
- Uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths in the wall of the uterus): Hysterectomy will be recommended only if the woman is experiencing heavy bleeding or extreme pain due to the fibroids.
- Heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding: This can be due to changes in hormone levels, infection, cancer, or fibroids.
- Uterine prolapse (slipping from its normal place down into the vagina): This occurs more commonly in women with multiple vaginal deliveries.
- Endometriosis (abnormal growth of the uterine tissue outside the uterus, most commonly in the ovaries): This can cause severe pain and bleeding between periods.
- Adenomyosis: In this condition, there is a thickening of the uterine wall due to abnormal growth of tissues.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): PID is a bacterial infection of the reproductive organs, which if spread extensively can lead to severe pelvic pain.
- Cancer (or precancer stage) of the uterus, ovary, cervix: Hysterectomy is often the option for treating cancer of the uterus.
What are the different types of hysterectomies?
Depending upon which other reproductive organs are removed along with the uterus, a hysterectomy is of three types:
- Total hysterectomy: This is the most common type of hysterectomy that involves the removal of the uterus and cervix.
- Partial (or subtotal) hysterectomy: In this type, just the upper part of the uterus is removed.
- Radical hysterectomy: Through this surgery, all the uterus, cervix, ligaments (tissue on both sides of the cervix), and upper part of the vagina are removed. It is performed mostly for cancer of the cervix.
How is a hysterectomy performed?
The surgeon will explain different approaches to performing a hysterectomy. These are as follows:
- Abdominal hysterectomy: Your doctor makes a large cut of about 6-12 inches in the lower abdomen. He cuts the structures that hold the uterus in the abdomen and takes it out. The wound is stitched back.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: The operation is performed via the vagina. The surgeon detaches the uterus from ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper vagina, and blood vessels and connective tissue that support it, before removing the uterus.
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy: A long and thin camera-like tube is inserted through one of the several small cuts in the lower abdomen. This tube helps in visualizing the uterus. The uterus is then removed either through one of the incisions or vagina.
- Robotic surgery: The surgeon uses a robotic arm to perform the surgery through small cuts in your lower abdomen.
How long does it take to recover from a hysterectomy?
How long a woman will stay in the hospital after her hysterectomy depends on the surgical approach, her age, and her general health status.
With a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy, the woman may be discharged one to four days after the surgery.
If the woman had an abdominal hysterectomy, she will have to stay for four to five days in the hospital.
Follow-up may be scheduled generally within four to six weeks of the surgery. However, in most cases, it is not necessary unless there are any complications.
Full recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy generally takes about four to six weeks, whereas it is earlier in case of a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Sex can be resumed within four to six weeks, depending upon how soon the vagina heals.
Walking can be resumed soon but lifting weights should be avoided for at least to six weeks after the surgery.
Hysterectomy. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hysterectomy
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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How Long Does It Take to Recover From Laparoscopic Surgery?When done for the treatment of medical conditions, the recovery may vary depending on the type of treatment. After a major surgery, such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), removal of the ovaries or removal of a kidney for the treatment of cancer, it may take up to 12 weeks to recover. The patient may be able to resume their activities within 3 weeks of a minor laparoscopic surgery, such as an appendix removal.
Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH)Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) is a surgical procedure using a laparoscope to guide the removal of the uterus and/or Fallopian tubes and ovaries through the vagina. During LAVH, the uterus is detached from the ligaments that attach it to other structures in the pelvis using laparoscopic tools. If the Fallopian tubes and ovaries are to be removed, they are also detached from their ligaments and blood supply. The organs and tissue are then removed through an incision made in the vagina.
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