A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed by a gynecologist. The hysterectomy can be partial or complete. Partial hysterectomy removes the uterine body leaving the cervical stump. In a complete procedure the body, the fundus, the cervix. Hysterectomy is usually done after the baby is born, but can be removed for many other reasons. By removing the uterus, patients cannot have children. Certain types of cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, or tumors may also warrant a hysterectomy.
There are different hysterectomy techniques that can be performed in different ways. The oldest technique is the abdominal incision or open surgery. This method is known as laparotomy. Laparotomy is open surgery, requires the longest recovery time, and carries the greatest risk of complications. The incision is made directly above the pubic bone and is similar to the incision for a cesarean section. The recovery time for an open hysterectomy is typically 4-6 weeks, but can be longer.
Another technique used is vaginal hysterectomy. Vaginal hysterectomy is performed through the vaginal canal and usually has fewer complications than open surgery. The open technique provides the greatest access to the reproductive system. Vaginal hysterectomy is performed through the vaginal canal and has a lower risk of complications, shorter hospital stays, and shorter recovery times. Laparoscopy is a technique in which laparoscopes are inserted through the abdomen and the uterus is removed through the vaginal canal. This method was developed to support the hysterectomy process by performing it in a less invasive manner and with a faster recovery time. Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy was developed to remove the uterus without removing the cervix with a morcellator that cuts the uterus into small pieces that can be removed from the abdominal cavity through the laparoscopic openings. Total laparoscopic hysterectomy is performed entirely using laparoscopes inserted into the abdomen. The entire uterus is clipped onto the openings with long, thin instruments. Robotic hysterectomy, also known as DaVinci hysterectomy, allows the doctor to remotely control instruments with very precise control and three-dimensional enlarged visuals.
Ideally, a patient would like to undergo the DaVinci surgical method. DaVinci has the fastest recovery and the lowest risk of complications. Due to the low trauma, the DaVinci method is considered an almost outpatient procedure. Depending on the scope of the procedure required, laparoscopic methods may not be applicable and abdominal surgery may be the only procedure that can be performed.