For women of reproductive age, hysterectomy is second only to cesarean section as the most commonly performed surgical procedure. In fact, more than one-third of all American women will have had a hysterectomy to remove the uterus by the age of 60. The reasons for the procedure are many and vary from one patient to the next. Likewise, the type of hysterectomy can differ as well, from total to partial. Determining if such as procedure is needed and to what extent is a decision that should be made between patient and gynecologist. If you think that it may be the best option for you, here are the facts to consider:
Reasons to Have a Hysterectomy
Gynecological problems that are not manageable through non-surgical methods, certain forms of cancer, or complications from childbirth may be best addressed through a hysterectomy. Some of the more common reasons for the procedure include:
- Uterine prolapse
- Uterine fibroids
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Uterine rupture
- Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, or cervix
Types of Hysterectomy
Depending on the condition for which a hysterectomy is performed, the uterus alone may be removed or other reproductive organs may be taken as well. In total, there four types of hysterectomy:
- Partial Hysterectomy – Removal of only the uterus.
- Total Hysterectomy – Removal of both the uterus and cervix.
- Total Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy – Removal of the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes.
- Radical Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Upper parts of the vagina and some lymph nodes may be removed as well.
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Technique
As is increasingly the case with many surgical procedures, the techniques by which hysterectomies are performed have advanced greatly over the years. Traditional, open surgery hysterectomies involve a large incision of several inches in the abdomen through which the organs are removed. Following the procedure, patients can expect a 2 to 3-day hospital stay and a noticeable scar. However, surgeons are increasingly turning to minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible, including the use of laparoscopic hysterectomies.
During a laparoscopic hysterectomy, one or more small incisions are made in precise locations such as the navel or lower abdomen. Through these incisions, the surgeon is able to use small surgical instruments and a camera to see the uterus and other reproductive organs. The necessary organs can then be removed through the same incisions.
The benefits of a laparoscopic hysterectomy over the traditional technique are many. In most cases, the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to return home the same day. It takes significantly less time to complete, has a lower rate of complications such as infection and blood loss, and scarring is minimal.
At Lane Regional Medical Center, our obstetric and gynecological physicians are skilled in several minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopic hysterectomies. If you are suffering from troubling gynecological symptoms, place your health in the hands of our caring and knowledgeable experts. They will not only guide you along every step of your journey from diagnosis to treatment, but they will also ensure that, should a hysterectomy be needed, you receive the highest quality, most advanced care possible.