As with many surgeries, there are varying types of hysterectomies depending on the reason it is being performed. Additionally, the method in which the surgeon chooses to perform the procedure will vary on many individual factors which are determined by your specific situation and health condition. The term hysterectomy simply describes removal of the uterus and is done for several different health conditions including but not limited to the presence of fibroids, endometriosis, cancer, uterine prolapse, pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory processes, blockages and/or abnormal uterine bleeding.
The different types of hysterectomy include:
- Total Hysterectomy: During this procedure the entire uterus is removed which includes the cervix.
- Hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy: During this procedure the entire uterus is removed as with a total hysterectomy however one or both of the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed.
- Radical Hysterectomy: During this procedure, the organs removed include the uterus, cervix and the uppermost portion of the vagina, as well as most of the tissue surrounding the cervix. Additionally there may be times in which the pelvic lymph nodes may be removed as with some cancers.
- Supracervical hysterectomy: During this procedure which is also referred to as a partial or subtotal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed however the cervix is not removed.
The different methods to performing a hysterectomy include:
- Vaginal Hysterectomy: During this procedure, the uterus is removed through an incision made in the vagina.
- Abdominal Hysterectomy: During this procedure, the uterus is removed through an 6-8 inch incision made into the abdomen.
- Laparoscopic Hysterectomy/Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy: During this procedure, the surgeon uses a tube with a lighted camera attached which is inserted into small incisions in the abdomen and/or the navel, providing the surgeon with a view of the pelvic organs via a screen. The uterus is then removed through the small abdominal incisions or through the vaginal opening. During a robot assisted procedure, after the laparoscope, etc are inserted, the surgeon is able to control the instruments by way of using a computer station with the assistance of a robot.
What are the risks associated with a hysterectomy?
Some of the risks associated with undergoing a hysterectomy include infection, bleeding/hemorrhage and injury to the urinary system and surrounding organs such as the bowels. Other complications include deep vein thrombosis, anesthesia related complications, intestinal blockage, wound blood clot and/or death. Additionally, some may experience difficulty urinating or urinary incontinence, mood swings, depression and/or loss of sexual identity as a result of undergoing this procedure. Some women who have not yet reached menopause and undergo a hysterectomy which removes the ovaries may also experience symptoms consistent with menopause including hot flashes, mood swings and vaginal dryness. Hysterectomy will also result in the loss of menses. Additional risks may be present based on your personal situation and medical history and it is best to discuss all risks and complications with your medical provider.