Abdominal Hysterectomy: What to Expect
Has your doctor recommended a hysterectomy as a permanent cure for your uterine fibroids? While you may have heard of a hysterectomy, you may not know that there are several ways that it can be performed. Abdominal: abdominally, laparoscopically, and vaginally. Many people do not know what the surgery involves. PreOp® Patient Education created a YouTube video to explain the procedure more. Learn more about it here.*
What is removed during a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy surgically removes the uterus, which holds and protects a fetus when a woman is pregnant. In some cases, a hysterectomy removes other reproductive parts, as well, including one or both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and/or the cervix. You will not be able to conceive or carry a fetus after a hysterectomy.
Why might my doctor recommend an abdominal hysterectomy?
A doctor may recommend a hysterectomy to help treat many different types of conditions such as fibroids, uterine cancer, endometriosis, and other gynecological conditions, including severe menstrual symptoms.
Abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended or required if you have a large uterus or particularly large fibroids that can’t be safely or completely removed laparoscopically or vaginally.
What are the steps in the procedure?
Before deciding to get a hysterectomy, it’s important to understand the process so you can make an informed decision and be prepared. After your anesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon will take the following steps.
- They will make an incision through the skin and the muscle of your abdomen, then separate and prop open the layers of tissue to expose the abdominal cavity.
- Next, they will inspect the overall condition of the abdominal organs to ensure that removing your uterus is safe at that time.
- If the surgery is deemed safe, the surgeon will make an incision that cuts the uterus away from the bladder.
- After this, they will tie off and cut the arteries and veins connected to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- The uterus is then pulled upward and out of the cavity, which stretches the vagina and allows the surgeon to cut the uterus free at the cervix.
- The surgeon will then close the top of the vagina with stitches while providing added support by attaching the ligaments that once held the uterus in place.
- Lastly, the surgeon will close the incision in your abdomen and apply a sterile bandage. In some cases, a drainage tube may be left inserted at the site.
Hysterectomy is a significant surgery that can change your life in surprising ways. You may need to take medication to replace hormones if your ovaries are removed along with your uterus. Before choosing an abdominal hysterectomy, ask your doctor to carefully explain their reasons for recommending it, the surgery’s potential side effects, and how it may affect your life going forward.
*PreOp.com Patient Engagement – Patient Education. (2019, January 22). Hysterectomy Removal of the Uterus Surgery – PreOp® Patient Education [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpoCv_HS6QU