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What Is A Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, or womb. It is the second most frequently performed surgery among women, after cesarean section (C-section). Depending on the type of hysterectomy performed and the reason it’s being done, removal of the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes is sometimes performed during the same surgery.

How Many Types Of Hysterectomies Are There?

While all hysterectomies remove a woman’s uterus, or womb, there are different types of hysterectomies:

  • A complete or total hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus and the cervix.
  • A partial or supracervical hysterectomy involves the removal of the upper part of the uterus, but not the cervix.

A radical hysterectomy involves removal of the cervix, the uterus, the upper part of the vagina, and supporting tissues, including the lymph nodes. This type of hysterectomy is usually performed when cervical cancer is present.

A total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy involves a total hysterectomy plus the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, which brings on surgical menopause. If you require this type of surgery, it’s important to talk to your doctor about symptoms of menopause.

How Is A Hysterectomy Performed?

There are two main techniques used to perform hysterectomies:

Open technique:

  • A total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) is a complete hysterectomy performed through an incision of approximately five inches in length in the abdominal muscle. TAH is not considered a type of MIP. After the incision is made, the surgeon cuts through the muscle wall and other connective tissues to reach the uterus.

Minimally invasive techniques:

  • A vaginal hysterectomy is performed through an incision made at the top of the vagina. Through the incision, all connections between the uterus and the body are cut and tied off. Then the uterus is removed through the vagina.

A laparoscopic hysterectomy is performed through small dime-sized incisions made in the abdomen to create passageways for specialized surgical instruments used to perform the procedure. The uterus is detached while the doctor is viewing the area through a laparoscope (a miniature camera). The image is viewed by the surgeon on a video monitor. After the uterus is detached, it is removed vaginally through a small incision.

What Is Removed During A Hysterectomy?

Depending on the type of hysterectomy, the uterus, the cervix, the upper part of the vagina, the lymph nodes, the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes, and the tissues supporting all of these organs, may be removed.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of A Minimally Invasive Procedure (MIP) For Hysterectomy Over A Total Abdominal Hysterectomy (TAH)?

Many women feel that MIP is a better option for them than TAH because MIP offers a number of significant benefits, including:

  • Less recovery time
  • Less time in the hospital
  • Less scarring
  • Less pain

Today, there are several kinds of MIP for hysterectomy to consider. The appropriate surgical option may depend on many factors, including the condition being treated.

  
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