Hysterectomy—Open Surgery

(Surgical Removal of the Uterus [or Womb]; Abdominal Hysterectomy; Vaginal Hysterectomy)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Definition

Hysterectomy is the surgical term for the removal of the uterus (womb). This results in the inability to become pregnant.There are different types of surgeries, such as:
  • Supracervical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus only
  • Total hysterectomy—removal of the uterus and cervix (the opening of the uterus leading to the vagina)
  • Radical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper part of the vagina, and the pelvic lymph nodes
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy —removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (may be combined with any of the above procedures)

Reasons for Procedure

A hysterectomy may be done if the uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. Some reasons a woman may have a hysterectomy are to:
  • Treat cancers, such as uterine , endometrial, and ovarian cancers
  • Remove uterine fibroids
  • Treat conditions, such as chronic pelvic pain or heavy bleeding
Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Previous pelvic surgery or serious infection
  • Use of prescription and nonprescription drugs during the past month
Be sure to discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.

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