DURATION: 1-2 hours
ANAESTHESIA/PAIN RELIEF: Mainly by General Anaesthetic but Regional Spinal Anaesthesia may be possible for patients with significant other health issues.
RECOVERY TIME: If you have a laparoscopic hysterectomy then you would normally be discharged home on the day of surgery or the following day. Normally you can drive after two weeks and return to normal activities in 6 weeks.
If you require a traditional open hysterectomy through a cut on your abdomen then you will be in hospital normally 2 to 3 days. You should not drive for 4 weeks and return to normal activities in 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure.
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Patient’s general health needs to be carefully evaluated before undergoing a hysterectomy. To this end, a preoperative assessment will be carried out in the days leading up to the procedure.
SUITABLE FOR: Women looking for a long-term solution to chronic gynaecological problems; those suffering from certain female-only forms of cancer.
It’s a sad fact that many women are plagued by heavy periods, chronic pelvic pain and several other gynaecological problems for many years. Fortunately there are many other effective treatments for these symptoms which may be offered prior to offering a hysterectomy. However a hysterectomy is an effective treatment option for those women whose daily living is significantly affected by persistent and painful gynaecological symptoms, especially when all other forms of treatment have been exhausted. For these women, a hysterectomy may be the right choice.
For some women with a family history of cancer or a confirmed cancer hysterectomy may also be considered.
Who can benefit from a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy can have many positive effects on the health of those who choose to have them. As a procedure designed to eliminate chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis or adenomyosis and frequent heavy periods, hysterectomy can transform the quality of a woman’s life.
When combined with removal of the ovaries it can also stop mood swings and reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 90%.
There are times when a hysterectomy is a medical necessity, and these are often seen as the best course of treatment to address a prolapsed uterus or to aid those being treated for ovarian, cervical and endometrial cancer.
Different forms of hysterectomy
There are a range of hysterectomy options, and these differ depending on your wishes and what is the underlying condition necessitating hysterectomy. A total hysterectomy, in which the body of the womb and cervix is removed, is by far the most common of these. This can be performed either laparoscopically, robotically or as a traditional open operation or as a vaginal operation.
Other options include leaving the cervix in place after removing the womb – known as a subtotal hysterectomy or just removal of fibroids with conservation of the body of the womb called myomectomy.
At the time of hysterectomy you will also need to consider if you wish to have the ovaries and fallopian tubes either conserved or also removed at the time of the hysterectomy. These options will be discussed with you during your consultation and can be influenced by several factors, ranging from your age, family history, medical recommendation to personal preference.
Hysterectomy and myomectomy can be completed in a variety of ways. These are:
- Laparoscopic or robotic hysterectomy: In this process, the surgery is performed through a number of small incisions (5-10 mm) will be made on your abdomen. Organs and tissue will then be extracted either via these incisions or through the vagina.
- Abdominal hysterectomy: In this form of surgery, an incision is made to your abdomen to remove organs, tissue or non-cancerous/cancerous growths.
- Vaginal hysterectomy: In this variation of hysterectomy, organs are removed via a cut in the top of the vagina. It is commonly used in women who have a prolapse.
The right treatment for you
Hysterectomy is an irreversible procedure, it eliminates the possibility of having a baby and may trigger the menopause several years earlier than would have otherwise happened. For these reasons, hysterectomies may be considered an extreme form of treatment. Mr Francis Gardner will help to guide through all treatment options highlighting the positive and negative effects of each treatment so you can make an informed decision as to whether a hysterectomy is right for you.
To book in for a consultation with one of the country’s leading gynaecological experts, please get in touch today.
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that has many life-changing implications, so it’s important to consider all other options before choosing to have one. If you have explored a number of other treatment options and have had little success, then a hysterectomy could be the right choice for you. However not all women need a hysterectomy, there are many women who come to see Mr Gardner who feel hysterectomy is the only option who after assessment and discussion find a very effective alternative treatment. Mr Gardner is an expert in other treatments such as fibroid resection, endometrial ablation and use of other treatments such hormonal treatments.
The type of hysterectomy will very much depend on the underlying cause for the hysterectomy. Mr Gardner will always take into consideration your thoughts and feelings and you will be given access to all of the information you need to make an informed decision to decide what is the best operation for you. In certain situations there is an overarching medical reason for a certain type of hysterectomy to be performed, but this is something that can be discussed with you so you make an informed decision.
If you have a hysterectomy and your ovaries are conserved you should not have an immediate menopause. However studies have shown that women who have a hysterectomy may have a menopause several years earlier than would have been otherwise expected.
If you choose to have your ovaries removed at the time of hysterectomy then you will begin the menopause after your procedure. This is an important consideration because you may be advised to take treatment for the menopause to avoid symptoms and complications of the menopause such as hot flushes, disturbed sleep, lethargy, poor concentration and osteoporosis.
This varies from patient to patient, and varies very much with the type of hysterectomy. You should anticipate a fairly lengthy recovery time. Depending on the method of hysterectomy that has been performed, it can take between 6-12 weeks to make a full recovery. However most women should be self caring and mobile within 12 to 72 hours of an operation depending on whether it is a laparoscopic hysterectomy (mainly daycase or one night stay in hospital) or an large laparotomy (open cut) for a large fibroid uterus or ovarian cancer surgery (generally 72 hours in hospital).