A hysterectomy is an operation in which the uterus (uterus) is removed and may or may not include the removal of the fallopian tubes or one or both ovaries. While the removal of a single tube and an ovary is known as a salpingo-oophorectomy, the removal of both the tube and the ovaries is known as a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO).
There are also different types of hysterectomy operations that can be performed, and it all depends on the organ being removed.
- Total hysterectomy. This is the most common of these surgeries and involves the removal of the uterus and cervix (cervix).
- Subtotal hysterectomy. This is when the body of the uterus is removed, but not the cervix.
- Radical hysterectomy. This type of surgery removes the uterus, cervix, and a small part of a woman’s upper vagina as well as soft tissue in the pelvis. Such an operation is carried out only if the patient has cancer of the cervix and the gynecologist has received special training for this type of operation.
It has been found that up to 1 in 5 women must have a hysterectomy in her lifetime. It is therefore a relatively common operation, but it is almost always necessary if a woman has been diagnosed with cancer of the cervix or uterus. Hysterectomies are also recommended for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In fact, most hysterectomies are not done because a woman has cancer, but because she has heavy bleeding or pain in the uterus and makes her life very difficult. This type of hysterectomy is only performed on women who do not wish to have any more children in the future.
Women who have fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or severe periods may opt for a hysterectomy, while women with uterine prolapse undergo a hysterectomy as part of the prolapse repair operation.
Any woman who has a hysterectomy is completely asleep under general anesthesia. There are not only different types of hysterectomies that a woman can have, but also different ways of performing the surgery.
- Abdominal hysterectomy. This is the most common surgery and is done through a 6 inch scar cut in the woman’s lower abdomen.
- Vaginal hysterectomy. This is done through the vagina, leaving the patient with no visible scars that an operation has taken place.
- Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH). Here, the surgeon uses keyhole surgery in combination with vaginal surgery to complete the surgery. Again, this type of operation does not leave the patient with visible scars from an operation that has been performed.