A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove your womb. The main reasons to have this operation are vaginal bleeding, fibroids, prolapse, adenomyosis and uterine cancer.
- There are several conditions that lead to making the decision to remove your womb
- This operation can be performed abdominally, laparoscopically, vaginally or through a combination
- Hysterectomy is a common procedure
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a major gynaecological operation to remove your uterus, and usually the cervix as well. Without a womb, you no longer have menstrual cycles and you cannot become pregnant anymore.
Usually, we remove the fallopian tubes as well. This can lead to a significant decrease in a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. The removal of the cervix also reduces the risk of cervical cancer.
Before the age of 65, the ovaries are not routinely removed at the time of a hysterectomy.
Making the decision to go ahead with this surgery can be difficult. At Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group, we will discuss your reasons to have a hysterectomy extensively. We will also talk about alternatives so that you can make an informed decision about your health and care.
Reasons for hysterectomy
There are several conditions that lead to a hysterectomy:
- Vaginal bleeding that is not responsive to medical or other conservative therapies
- Uterine cancer
Hysterectomy surgery Perth
Types of hysterectomy
There are 3 main types of hysterectomy.
- Total hysterectomy: This is the most common type. The uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes are removed.
- Partial hysterectomy: Sometimes women feel that they may want to retain their cervix.
- Radical hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy is usually reserved for cancer surgery or in women with severe pelvic disease. It involves removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, lymph glands and fatty tissue.
The type of surgery you have will depend on the condition that we are treating and on the reason why you need the operation.
How is a hysterectomy performed?
There are 4 ways to perform a hysterectomy:
- Laparotomy: Otherwise known as an open hysterectomy or abdominal hysterectomy where the operation is done through an incision on the abdomen similar to a caesarean section
- Laparoscopy: Otherwise known as keyhole surgery or a laparoscopic hysterectomy
- Vaginal hysterectomy: Surgery through the vagina
- Using a combination of these techniques
Whether a hysterectomy is performed abdominally, vaginally, laparoscopically, or a combination of those, depends on several factors including:
- The size of your uterus
- Your BMI
- Your previous surgical history
- Anaesthetic risk
- Are fallopian tubes and or ovaries going to be removed?
These issues will be discussed with you during your consultation.
Preparing for surgery
Generally, we prefer that you fast for at least 6 hours before you have your operation. Usually, bowel preparation is not necessary.
Prior to surgery, we will discuss your medical and surgical history. If you are taking medications that may impact your care, we will discuss this as well.
What you need to know about hysterectomy recovery
A hysterectomy is a major operation and you will experience some discomfort . We will provide you with adequate pain relief to assist with your recovery but do prepare for some discomfort as you recover. We will discuss this in consultation prior to surgery.
We will remove your indwelling catheter and we will encourage you to move independently. It will be difficult at first, but the more you move, the quicker you will get back to your normal activities.
Once you are able to pass urine, mobilise safely and pass wind you will be ready to go home.
Working, bathing, exercising and driving?
- Working: Your timeframe to return to work will depend on the type of work you do. In general, your recovery can take up to 6 weeks.
- Bathing: We recommend bathing after your 6-week postoperative check.
Showering is fine.
- Exercise: Non-strenuous exercise is recommended, but no exercising within the first two weeks after surgery.
- Driving will depend on the route of surgery. When you have had abdominal surgery, we advise you not to drive in the first 6 weeks following your operation. If you have had a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy, it’s ok to drive your car 2 weeks following surgery.
1-2 hours depending on complexity.
No, it is important that you keep up your activity and improve on this when at home.
Yes, it is likely that you will need some sort of support if your ovaries are removed. This is to prevent other medical issues such as bone loss and cardiac disease. However, the ovaries are not removed routinely before the age of 65.
No, it should not.
No, it should not. But we do understand that hysterectomy is major surgery and that you may feel emotional, definitely when the reason for having surgery is cancer.
Most private health insurers will cover a hysterectomy.
No, you won’t unless your ovaries need to be removed.
If your cervical screening prior to the hysterectomy was up to date and normal and if your cervix is removed as well then you usually will not need ongoing screening.
Risks and complications
Hysterectomies are safe but complications do occur either from the surgery or from the anaesthetic. They include:
- Blood clots
- Injury to internal organs (bladder, ureters, bowel, blood vessels)
- Breathing problems
- Drug reactions etc.
12 excellent reasons to choose Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group
Care for the whole family, organising work certificates for partners.
Providing safe care and birth options (experience as a rural GP obstetrician).
A limited number of private patients to allow us the ability to provide patients with the service they deserve.
Make the time for patients, understand what they want/expect from their journey, available 24/7 (when on leave you will be covered during those times).
Blood pressure management.
Foetal growth assessment.
Maintaining a close relationship with your GP.
In-house access to allied health services such as physiotherapy and lactation consultants.
Free online antenatal classes.
We are Joondalup Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group, in short JOGG. We are a Joondalup-based private obstetrics and gynaecology practice, and cater for mums, women and families across the Perth metro area.