This page will provide you with information about a laparoscopic hysterectomy. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove your uterus (womb). Often the cervix (neck of the womb) and your ovaries may also need to be removed at the same time (see figure 1).
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Why are the reasons for a hysterectomy?
Common reasons include:
- Heavy or painful periods
- Fibroids (non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb)
- Endometriosis (where the womb lining grows outside the womb)
- Ovarian cysts
What are the benefits of the operation?
A hysterectomy may cure or improve your symptoms. You will no longer have periods.
What are the alternatives?
As a major operation, a hysterectomy is only recommended after simpler options have been explored. Alternatives include:
- Oral medications to control heavy periods
- An IUD (intra-uterine device, also known as a coil)
- Endometrial ablation to remove the womb lining
- Medication to control fibroids
- Uterine artery embolization, which blocks the arteries which feed fibroids
What happens during the operation?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. Occasionally a spinal anaesthetic will be used. The operation usually takes about an hour and a half. Your gynaecologist will make several incisions your abdomen so they can insert a number of tubes (ports) into your abdomen. Through these ports, the surgeons will insert surgical instruments, along with a telescope (laparoscope). This will allow them to see inside your abdomen and perform the operation. Your gynaecologist may also need to place instruments through your vagina to help remove your womb.
What are the complications?
Your healthcare team will try to make your operation as safe as possible but complications can happen. General complications include:
- Feeling or being sick
- Bleeding (during or after surgery)
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Blood clots in the legs (deep-vein thrombosis, DVT)
- Unsightly scarring
Your surgeon will advise you of any other possible complications.
How soon will I recover?
You will usually be able to go home after one to three days. You will need to rest for two weeks and maintain the exercises that you were shown in hospital. Most women can return to work after four to six weeks, depending on type of work. Once you have gone home, you should contact your gynaecologist or GP if you experience the following, which could indicate a complication:
- Pain that get worse over time
- A heavy discharge or bleeding from your vagina
- A high temperature
- Dizziness, feeling faint or shortness of breath
- Feeling sick or lack of appetite
References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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