Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of your uterus by a Gynaecologist Consultant.

Hysterectomies can be carried out to treat menstrual problems such as heavy periods, intense period pain and other conditions such as fibroids if you do not want to have children in your future. It is also used to treat ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cervical cancer.

Types of hysterectomy

The main types of hysterectomy are:

  • Total hysterectomy – the womb and cervix are removed; this is the most commonly performed operation

  • Subtotal hysterectomy – the main body of the womb is removed, leaving the cervix in place

  • Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – the womb, cervix, fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) are removed

  • Radical hysterectomy – the womb and surrounding tissues are removed, including the fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, ovaries, lymph glands and fatty tissue

There are 3 ways to carry out a hysterectomy:

  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy (keyhole surgery) – where the womb is removed through several small cuts in the tummy

  • Vaginal hysterectomy – where the womb is removed through a cut in the top of the vagina

  • Abdominal hysterectomy – where the womb is removed through a cut in the lower tummy.

Risks

There's a small risk of complications, including:

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Infection

  • Damage to your bladder or bowel

Recovering from a hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a major operation. You can be in hospital for up to 5 days after surgery, and it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover.

Rest as much as possible during this time and do not lift anything heavy, such as bags of shopping. You need time for your abdominal muscles and tissues to heal.

If your ovaries are removed during a hysterectomy, you'll go through the menopause immediately after the operation, regardless of your age. This is known as a surgical menopause and will be managed with your consultant.