Whether you’ve been advised that you might need a hysterectomy or you are already planning for your surgery, MIS may be for you. An advanced technique, MIS offers better outcomes, shorter hospital stays, lower hospital bills, less pain and reduced risk of complications.1
WHAT IS A HYSTERECTOMY?
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman's uterus or womb. The uterus is the place where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. After a hysterectomy, a woman will no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant.
Sometimes the surgery also removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes. If a woman has both ovaries taken out, she will enter menopause.
Although considered a major surgery, advances in surgical techniques have made it among the safest common procedures for women.2
Gynecologic MIS VS. open surgery advantages
Unlike traditional/open surgery that requires a 5-inch incision, MIS involves just a few small incisions. By being easier on your body, you may enjoy some serious benefits.2,3
Fewer days spent in the hospital, on average2,3
Reduction in blood loss during the procedure2,3
Less likely to be on opioids 5 days after surgery4
WHAT IS REMOVED DURING A HYSTERECTOMY
There are different types of hysterectomy. Each involves the removal of different structures.
- Total hysterectomy: The entire uterus, including the cervix, is removed.
- Supracervical hysterectomy (also caled subtotal or partial): The upper part of the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place. This type of hysterectomy can only be performed laparoscopically or abdominally.
- Radical hysterectomy: This is a total hysterectomy that also includes removal of structures around the uterus. It may be recommended if cancer is diagnosed or suspected.
Note: While many women plan their surgery, undergo it, and recover without being emotionally impacted, others may experience hormonal changes that affect their mood. Others may contend with feelings around the surgery itself. In either case, speak to your doctor. From counseling to specific medical therapies, you have options at every step of the process.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR A HYSTERECTOMY?
A healthcare provider might recommend a hysterectomy if a woman has: fibroids, endometriosis that hasn't been cured by medicine or surgery, uterine prolapse (when the uterus drops into the vagina), cancer of the uterus/cervix/ovaries, vaginal bleeding that persists despite treatment or severe chronic pelvic pain.
The good news? Surgical techniques have come a long way since your (grand)mother’s hysterectomy. New procedures and materials offer options that can greatly decrease discomfort and speed recovery, so you can get back to your health — and your life — much faster than you might think.2
WHAT ARE MY SURGICAL OPTIONS?
A hysterectomy can be done in different ways: through the vagina, through the abdomen, or laparoscopically.
Vaginal Hysterectomy — In a vaginal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through the vagina. There is no abdominal incision. Not all woman are able to have a vaginal hysterectomy. For example, women have have adhesions from previous surgery or who have a very large uterus many not be able to have this type of surgery.
Vaginal hysterectomies generally result in fewer complications, shorter healing time, and a faster return to normal activities and is recommended as the first choice — when possible.2
Abdominal Hysterectomy — In an abdominal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through a 5-to-7 inch incision in the lower abdomen. The opening in the abdomen gives the surgeon a clear view of the pelvic organs.
Abdominal hysterectomy can be performed even if adhesions are present or if the uterus is very large. However, abdominal hysterectomy is associated with greater risk of complications, such as wound infection, bleeding, blood clots, and nerve and tissue damage, than vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy. It generally requires a longer hospital stay and a longer recovery time than vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy — A laparoscopic hysterectomy requires only a few small (about one-half inch long) incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope inserted through one of these incisions allows the surgeon to see the pelvic organs. Other surgical instruments are used to perform the surgery through separate small incisions. The uterus can be removed in small pieces through the incisions, through a larger incision in the abdomen, or through the vagina (which is called a laparoscopic vaginal hysterectomy).
Compared with abdominal hysterectomy, laparoscopic surgery results in less pain and scarring, has a lower risk of infection, requires a shorter hospital stay and has a faster recovery. You may be able to return to your normal activities sooner.2
Learn About Hysterectomies
DOWNLOAD OUR HYSTERECTOMY DATASHEET
If all the information about hysterectomy surgery feels overwhelming, download our datasheet.
It features key details and quick stats on why many patients choose minimally invasive surgery.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR SURGEON
The following is a list of questions to ask your surgeon:
- Which hysterectomy procedures are you most comfortable with/do you perform the most?
- Which one do you recommend for me and why?
- What risks are associated with this type of surgery?
- Do I have more than one option?
- What kind of anesthesia will I need?
- What is the recurrence rate with the recommended procedure?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- Will my insurance cover the surgery?
- Will I need pain medication after surgery?
- When will I be able to return to work?
- When and how often will I need to see you for follow-up visits?
LOOKING FOR A HYSTERECTOMY SURGEON?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) can help you find MIS physicians, specializing in hysterectomies and related surgeries.Visit ACOG.ORG