Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s womb (uterus).
The uterus is a hollow muscular organ that nourishes the developing baby during pregnancy.
You may have all or part of the uterus removed during a hysterectomy. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
There are many different ways to perform a hysterectomy.
It may be done through:
• A surgical cut in the belly (called open or abdominal)
• Three to four small surgical cuts in the belly and then using a laparoscope
• A surgical cut in the vagina, aided by the use of a laparoscope
• A surgical cut in the vagina without the use of a laparoscope
• Three to four small surgical cuts in the belly, in order to perform robotic surgery
You and your doctor will decide which type of procedure. The choice will depend on your medical history and the reason for the surgery.
There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy, including:
• Adenomyosis, a condition that causes heavy, painful periods
• Cancer of the uterus, most often endometrial cancer
• Cancer of the cervix or changes in the cervix called cervical dysplasia that may lead to cancer
• Cancer of the ovary
• Long-term (chronic) pelvic pain
• Severe endometriosis that does not get better with other treatments
• Severe, long-term vaginal bleeding that is not controlled with other treatments
• Slipping of the uterus into the vagina (uterine prolapse)
• Tumors in the uterus, such as uterine fibroids
• Uncontrolled bleeding during childbirth
Hysterectomy is a major surgery.
Some conditions can be treated with less invasive procedures such as:
• Uterine artery embolization
• Endometrial ablation
• Using birth control pills
• Using pain medicines
• Using an IUD (intrauterine device) that releases the hormone progestin
• Pelvic laparoscopy