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Home > Health Topics > Women's Health > Minimally Invasive Surgery > Hysterectomy
If you've recently been diagnosed with a health condition that requires the removal of your uterus (hysterectomy), you may now be searching for information about the different types of procedures. You should discuss the various options with your doctor. Ultimately, your surgeon will determine the type of hysterectomy you'll need, based on the specific circumstances of your condition. The four types of hysterectomy procedures are:
If your doctor has recommended a hysterectomy, it's important to get as much information about the procedure as possible. How it's performed may provide certain advantages in the speed and ease of your recovery. For example, here are two methods for a hysterectomy:
If your doctor has recommended that you a have a hysterectomy, it can be overwhelming. So it is important to feel comfortable enough to ask any questions you have. You should get as much information as you can to help you understand the reasons why your uterus needs to be removed and all the possible outcomes. Here are some questions for you to get the conversation started.
More than 550,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the U.S.21 Of those, about 260,000 are done using minimally invasive procedures, where only small incisions are required.21
The most commonly performed procedure is a total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). This is a traditional “open” procedure, where a five-inch incision is made into the abdominal wall. Through this opening, the surgeon removes the uterus, including the cervix. There is a hospital stay of three to five days. Recovery time will usually take about six weeks, leaving a visible scar.
Some conditions require a total abdominal hysterectomy and only your surgeon can recommend which procedure is best for you. If your doctor determines that you are a candidate for a minimally invasive hysterectomy (using small incisions), you may experience a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and less pain and scarring than you would if you have a total abdominal hysterectomy.
The first type of minimally invasive method involves what is known as a vaginal hysterectomy. An incision is made at the top of the vagina, through which the uterus, including the cervix, is separated from surrounding tissue and then taken out through the vagina. This small vaginal incision heals quickly, and usually won't leave an external scar. There is little discomfort since the abdominal muscles are not stretched during the procedure. It takes one to two hours and requires a hospital stay of about one to three days. The recovery time will usually take about four weeks.
This procedure can be performed using advanced minimally invasive techniques, where a laparoscope (a miniature camera) is used to view of the uterus. The surgeon uses specialized instruments, inserted through small ¾-inch incisions, to detach the uterus, which is then removed through the vagina. This is known as a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy.
The second type of minimally invasive procedure is called a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. Here, the surgeon uses laparoscopic tools, inserted through small ¾-inch incisions, to separate the uterus from the cervix. The uterus is then removed through one of the small abdominal incisions. In this surgery, the cervix remains, which means routine pap smears are necessary to detect for cervical cancer. The procedure usually takes one to two hours and a hospital stay of one to three days is usually required. The recovery time will usually take about four weeks.
Learn more about your women's health condition and possible treatment options with these resources.
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