Hysterectomy is the second-most common surgery among women in the United States. Nearly half a million women undergo this procedure every year (in the U.S. alone). Women in the Salt Lake City area have many options to choose from when it comes to their hysterectomy.
If you want a surgery with excellent results and reduced recovery time with less pain, your provider may encourage you to consider a small incision (laparoscopic) or minimally invasive (vaginal) hysterectomy. With the traditional abdominal hysterectomy, recovery time is approximately six weeks. In a minimally invasive or small incision procedure, by comparison, recovery time is down to about two weeks. Furthermore, both the minimally invasive and the laparoscopic procedure typically result in shorter hospital stays and less pain. Your women’s health care provider can determine whether you are a candidate for a small incision procedure.
Small Incision / Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
A small incision, or laparoscopic, surgery involves three or four “keyhole” incisions in the abdomen. Special training is required for this kind of procedure. The gynecologist then uses tools specifically designed for laparoscopic surgery to remove the uterus and other reproductive parts through these small incisions. Because the incisions are significantly smaller, scarring is minimal and the risk of infection is greatly reduced. Patients typically return to their normal activities more quickly.
Minimally Invasive / Vaginal Hysterectomy
Minimally invasive, or vaginal, hysterectomies allow a small incision to be made inside the vagina, through which the uterus is removed. This results in no visible scarring on the outside of your body.
Know that these procedures may not be available in all circumstances. However, many hysterectomies that are currently performed through the traditional abdominal method could be done either vaginally or laparoscopically. It is important for each patient to understand her options.
The Four Types of Hysterectomy
There are four types of hysterectomies:
- Partial/Supracervical Hysterectomy: Upper portion of the uterus is removed. The cervix is not affected.
- Complete/Total Hysterectomy: The entire uterus is removed, including the cervix. This is the most common type of hysterectomy.
- Hysterectomy With Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy: This procedure includes one of the two types of hysterectomy described above along with the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Radical Hysterectomy: This procedure, almost exclusively used for patients with cervical cancer, includes removal of all of the uterus, cervix, upper part of the vagina, and some surrounding tissues and lymph nodes.
Other Questions About Hysterectomy
- Are the ovaries left intact? This depends on the type of hysterectomy you have and the reason for having the hysterectomy. Ovaries are not necessarily removed during a hysterectomy.
- Does hysterectomy affect sex drive or how I feel? Women who have the ovaries removed – and have not already gone through menopause – may have vaginal dryness and decreased sex drive. If only the uterus is removed in the hysterectomy, there should be no change in hormonal balance.
- Will I stay in the hospital overnight? It’s common for many women to stay one night in the hospital following their hysterectomy. An open/abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a longer hospital stay. In some cases, same-day hospital discharge may be possible.
Have other questions about hysterectomy?
Contact Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center in Salt Lake City at 801-214-7650.