Hysterectomy Options: What’s right for you?
Each year, approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States, with most occurring in women between the ages of 40 to 44. A hysterectomy typically removes all, or a portion of a women’s uterus, due to uterine prolapse, severe vaginal bleeding, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain or diagnosis of gynecological cancers.
Surgical options for hysterectomy have improved greatly during the last decade, enabling many women to choose minimally invasive hysterectomy procedures versus a traditional abdominal surgery. However, upwards of 65% to 85% of hysterectomies are still abdominal. Knowing your options and discussing them with your gynecologist will help you better determine which hysterectomy is right for you.
Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH)
If your healthcare provider has recommended a hysterectomy, take the time to discuss the benefits of a LSH (Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy) with your doctor. Far less invasive than a traditional abdominal hysterectomy, having a LSH reduces pain, minimizes scarring and takes only a few days to recover from—not weeks.
During the LSH procedure, your surgeon will use a thin, lighted, telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope, which is inserted through 3-4 tiny incisions into the abdomen. The incisions are so tiny that stitches are not required, making the healing process much easier for the patient and often enabling the procedure to be completed on an outpatient basis.
While the patient’s uterus is removed during the LSH procedure, the cervix is most often left in place, decreasing future complications. Performed since the 1990s, doctors sometimes refer to LSH as the “painless hysterectomy.” To learn more, please talk with your healthcare provider.
Like a laparoscopic hysterectomy, a vaginal hysterectomy has no abdominal incision. There are two types of vaginal hysterectomy, a total vaginal hysterectomy, and a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (part laparoscopic, part vaginal hysterectomy). These minimally invasive procedures typically result in a shorter time in the hospital and quicker overall recovery.
Traditional (Abdominal) Hysterectomy
While there are less invasive hysterectomy procedures now available, not all patients are candidates. This is determined on a case by case basis, and you often can’t tell until you’re actually visualizing the anatomy by laparoscope. People with many prior abdominal incisions (and associated scar tissue), and those with certain cancers, are almost always treated by abdominal hysterectomy.