Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Depending on your condition and age, your gynecologist also may remove your cervix, ovaries (oophorectomy) and/or fallopian tubes (salpingectomy). After you have a hysterectomy, you're no longer able to become pregnant.
A hysterectomy might be recommended by your HonorHealth specialist if you have:
- Excessive menstrual bleeding — very heavy periods or irregular menstruation
- Adenomyosis — when endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Chronic pelvic pain
A hysterectomy also may be necessary if you've been diagnosed with uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer.
The decision about whether to have a hysterectomy is often difficult and should be a collaboration with you, your family and your gynecologist. Keep in mind that while a hysterectomy is often thought of as a last resort, some women describe it as life-changing because they feel so much better.
Minimally invasive surgery often can be used for a hysterectomy, typically resulting in fewer complications, less pain and a shorter recovery time. These surgeries are usually done with just an overnight hospital stay or sometimes even on an outpatient basis. At some HonorHealth hospitals, a robotic hysterectomy may be done.
Minimally invasive hysterectomies include:
- Laparoscopy: The surgeon inserts a small tube with a light and camera through small incisions in your abdomen. This allows the surgeon to see your organs and to perform the surgery using tiny surgical instruments. Sometimes this is done using robotics, which allows for even greater precision.
- Vaginal: The surgeon removes the uterus through the vagina. This is usually recommended when the uterus is small and there are no cancer concerns.
Although many hysterectomies today are done as minimally invasive surgeries, there are still reasons why you might need to have an abdominal, open hysterectomy. These include severe endometriosis, scar tissue from previous surgeries or when cancer may be present. The surgeon makes an incision either vertically or horizontally across the belly. With an abdominal hysterectomy, you'll be in the hospital for several days and will have a longer recovery time.