4 Types Of Hysterectomy: Procedure, Recovery Time And Alternatives

Hysterectomy is a common surgical procedure where the uterus or all of the female reproductive organs and supporting tissues are removed. Hysterectomy is used to combat several conditions and the extent of the procedure will depend on the circumstances and condition of a woman. For example, hysterectomy may be advised for a woman with certain kinds of gynecological cancers.

Other indications where hysterectomy may be a suitable treatment are fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse and chronic pelvic pain. Sometimes hysterectomy procedure may be recommended for women who are experiencing profound bleeding, pelvic pain and problems with the bladder associated with a gynecologic condition.

Types Of Hysterectomy Procedures

There are four primary types of hysterectomy.

  • Partial hysterectomy: The uterus is detached from the body in a partial hysterectomy.
  • Total hysterectomy: In the case of total hysterectomy, the uterus and the cervix are removed.
  • Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: In some cases, the hysterectomy procedure will involve removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This is called a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
  • Radical hysterectomy: A radical hysterectomy involves the removal of all the sex organs including a portion of the vagina, connecting tissue and lymph nodes (Mayo Clinic).

Deciding what hysterectomy procedure is appropriate will depend on the patient and her individual needs.

In addition, hysterectomy may be done through the abdomen or through the vagina depending on the situation. The end result of a hysterectomy is that a woman will no longer be able to get pregnant, but also that many gynecological problems may be resolved.

Hysterectomy Recovery Time

Hysterectomy is done in the hospital as an inpatient. Recovery time will depend on the procedure done and whether there are any other complications. Usually the patient has to stay in hospital for 5 to 7 days if there is no complication.

The recovery period at home may further take 15 days where the patient has to take rest. Most women are advised abstinence and lifting heavy objects for 2 months after hysterectomy. A scar may be visible at the site of abdominal hysterectomy surgery.

Abdominal & Vaginal Hysterectomy Procedure

Depending on the condition, the surgeon will decide the type of hysterectomy to be performed. It is usually a planned operation. It can be vaginal hysterectomy or abdominal hysterectomy.

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy: There are two types of incisions associated with an abdominal hysterectomy. The incision can run horizontal or vertical. The vertical incision runs from under the navel to slightly above the pubic bone. The second commonly used type of incision, the horizontal incision across the bikini line, about an inch above the pubic bone.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy: The procedure is done through vaginal route; an incision is made through vagina. This approach has less scarring and a shorter healing period than abdominal hysterectomy procedure, but the doctor doesn’t have as much room to work or as good of a view of other organs in the reproductive system. This procedure is usually adopted when uterus is prolapsed.

Alternatives To Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy may not always be necessary for treatment of all of the conditions it is used to treat. For example, chemotherapy may be used to treat some gynecological cancers. Further, fibroid, endometriosis and a prolapsed uterus may respond to alternative treatment plans. Hysterectomies remove the ability to have babies, so if a woman wants to have children, she may look to other options.

For some women a hysterectomy may be a lifesaving procedure. There are risks associated with any type of surgery and hysterectomies are no exception. A woman who is considering hysterectomy operation should consider the risks and benefits thoroughly before undergoing the procedure.

With advancement in surgical techniques post hysterectomy complications are minimal. However, minority of women may face with problems like urinary incontinence, vaginal fistula (tract formation between vagina and bladder), chronic backache, infection etc.