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What is a Hysterectomy?


A hysterectomy is a type of surgery where the uterus is removed. It might also include the removal of one or both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Each woman is different and requires a different approach. When exploring what is a hysterectomy you will discover that there are different types of hysterectomies and different ways to perform them. As with any surgery, it is only performed when other options have been considered. Here is a closer look at the procedures.

Affects one in five women

Around the world about one in five women has to go through a hysterectomy at some time for various reasons, making it one of the more common surgeries women have. When a woman has cancer of the uterus, ovaries or cervix then it is nearly always required but there are other times. But cancer is not the most common reason for a hysterectomy. Most often it is because the woman is experiencing a lot of pain or bleeding that is having a strongly negative impact on their lives. There is also the consideration of whether the woman wants to have children at some time in the future still. Women who experience heavy periods, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis or a prolapsed uterus might need to know what is a hysterectomy too.

Types of hysterectomies

There are three main types of hysterectomies;

  1. Radical hysterectomy - As the name suggests this is a more radical type of surgery as it involves taking out the cervix, uterus, some soft tissues from the pelvis and a small part of the upper vagina. It is only performed by specialists and usually just when the patient has cancer of the cervix.
  2. Total hysterectomy - The more common type of hysterectomy is the total hysterectomy. It is when the uterus is removed and the neck of the womb, the cervix is removed.
  3. Sub-total hysterectomy - Instead of a total hysterectomy in this case the uterus is removed but the cervix is left alone.

How the surgeries are performed

When a woman has to have a hysterectomy they are put to sleep using general anesthesia whatever type of surgery they are having. Three ways the surgeries can be performed are;

  1. LAVH (Laparoscopically assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy) - Using a combination of keyhole surgery technique and going through the vagina the surgery, as a result, does not leave visible scars, something some women are very concerned about.
  2. Abdominal hysterectomy - The most common type of surgery, this uses a six-inch cut that the surgeon creates on the lower abdomen of the patient to get to the parts being removed. This cut does leave behind a scar.
  3. Vaginal hysterectomy - This is the surgery being performed through the vagina so it does not leave a scar.


When you are looking into what a hysterectomy is, make sure you are also talking to your doctor at every stage. There are a lot of medical alternative options nowadays to having surgery and you should explore these first.

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