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Abdominal Hysterectomy

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need an abdominal hysterectomy?

An abdominal hysterectomy might be carried out if you have the following:

  • Heavy periods
  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • Fibroids
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Uterine cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cancer of the fallopian tubes

Specifically, an abdominal hysterectomy might be recommended over a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy if you have pelvic tumours or if your womb has become enlarged due to fibroids which the surgeon considers are too large to remove through another route (vaginal or laparoscopic).

What symptoms does an abdominal hysterectomy address?

A hysterectomy will help cure problems related to having heavy periods or be an important part of the treatment to treat certain gynaecological cancers. If you are undergoing an abdominal hysterectomy to treat a condition that is causing you pain (e.g. endometriosis), the majority of women find relief from pain afterwards.

Because your womb is removed during an abdominal hysterectomy, you will no longer be able to get pregnant after this procedure.

When should you speak to your specialist about an abdominal hysterectomy?

If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or symptoms, and no longer wish to become pregnant, you might consider talking to your specialist about the possibility of undergoing an abdominal hysterectomy.

How is an abdominal hysterectomy performed?

An abdominal hysterectomy is performed under a general anaesthetic.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision into your abdomen (either horizontally or vertically) and remove your uterus, cervix and potentially fallopian tubes and ovaries.

What is the recovery for an abdominal hysterectomy?

Your recovery from an abdominal hysterectomy can depend on many factors, and you should discuss this with your surgeon.

You will need to rest for two weeks after your operation, and you will likely need to take up to six to eight weeks off of work after your surgery.

It can take up to three months to feel fully recovered from an abdominal hysterectomy, as it is a major operation.

You and your surgeon will discuss what you can expect after your surgery and what the best options will be for your recovery.

Are there any risks/complications associated with an abdominal hysterectomy?

As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist or surgeon about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.

Some risks that have been associated with an abdominal hysterectomy are:

  • Damage to the structures close to your womb, including your bladder, bowels and ureters
  • Vaginal cuff dehiscence (the splitting of a wound)
  • Developing a blood clot
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Change in bowel or bladder habit

How can I prepare for an abdominal hysterectomy?

You should discuss the specific preparations that you should make prior to your abdominal hysterectomy with your surgeon, as they can vary from person to person.

Prior to your procedure, you might undergo blood tests and a general health assessment.

If you have any questions or concerns about your abdominal hysterectomy, it is integral to discuss them with your surgeon prior to your surgery.

Are there alternatives for an abdominal hysterectomy?

Depending on what symptoms you are experiencing or condition you have, it may be possible to explore alternatives prior to getting an abdominal hysterectomy.

For example, heavy periods can be mitigated by using oral medications, a hormone releasing coil, or by removing just the lining of your womb (“endometrial ablation”).

There is also the option of still having a hysterectomy, but having it carried out vaginally or laparoscopically.

You and your specialist or gynaecologist should discuss the best options for you.

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