A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the uterus (womb). The fallopian tubes, ovaries and/or the cervix may also be removed during the same surgery.
- Hysterectomies are the most frequently performed non-pregnancy related surgical
procedure performed in women in the United States.
- 600,000 procedures annually365
- Nearly 1/3 of all females are likely to have this procedure performed before age 60*
- Hysterectomy is permanent, which means future pregnancy is not possible. A hysterectomy may be absolutely necessary; but in many cases, symptoms can be treated with non-surgical or less invasive surgical procedures.
- Physician training and your medical condition may influence the type of procedure recommended. Getting a second opinion is encouraged so you can choose the procedure that’s the best option for you.
Reasons for Hysterectomy
Your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy as treatment for a wide variety of conditions:
- Heavy Periods: Also known as menorrhagia, abnormal menstrual bleeding causes pain and fatigue and can disrupt to your quality of life.
- Endometriosis: A condition where tissue that normally resides in the uterus appears in other parts of the abdomen.
- Fibroids: Benign (noncancerous) growths located inside or around the uterus.
- Gynecologic Cancer: Some cancers, such as uterine or ovarian cancer, may be treated with hysterectomy or with other treatment methods.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse: A condition in which the uterus drops out of its normal position. As a result, organs may press against the vaginal wall and produce a hernia-like bulge, causing discomfort and limiting physical and sexual activity.
Types of Hysterectomy
Depending on your condition, your surgeon may recommend an “open” or “minimally invasive” hysterectomy to remove the uterus. Fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix may also be removed.
- Open hysterectomy is a traditional “open” surgery, also known as abdominal hysterectomy.
- A 4- to 8-inch incision is made in the lower abdomen to remove the uterus.
- Typically performed when cancer is present or if a woman’s uterus is too large to be removed through minimally invasive surgery
- Some surgeons may recommend an open hysterectomy because of their training background. Getting a second opinion may give you more choices for your hysterectomy, which may result in less pain and scarring, less risk of infection and a faster recovery.
Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy
- With minimally invasive procedures, surgeons use specialized tools inserted through small incisions to remove the uterus. There are a variety of surgical approaches available, which typically result in less pain and scarring, less risk of infection and a faster recovery versus open hysterectomy procedures.
- The majority of women are concerned about scarring, and have a strong interest in a hysterectomy option that leave no scars.*
- * Based on a 2013 double-blinded, self-administered online, quantitative survey among females between 40 and 55 years of age, living in the U.S. (n = 1,000).