A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus or womb. Your fallopian tubes and ovaries may or may not be removed during your hysterectomy. This will depend on several factors including your condition and age. After a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery in women.
Hysterectomy may be needed if you have:
- Cancer of the uterus, ovary, cervix, or endometrium
- Prolapse of the uterus
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
There are different ways that your doctor can perform a hysterectomy. It will depend on your health history and the reason for your surgery.
- Abdominal hysterectomy. This is done through a 5- to 7-inch incision, or cut, in the lower part of your belly. The cut may go either up and down, or across your belly, just above your pubic hair.
- Vaginal hysterectomy. This is done through a cut in the vagina. The doctor will take your uterus out through this incision and close it with stitches.
- Robotic-assisted surgery or da Vinci Hysterectomy. Fortunately, there is a minimally invasive option for treating gynecologic conditions designed to overcome the limitations of traditional surgery – da Vinci Surgery. Using state-of-the-art technology, a da Vinci® Hysterectomy requires only a few tiny incisions, so you can get back to your life faster.
Recovering from a hysterectomy takes time. Most women stay in the hospital from 1 to 2 days for post-surgery care. Some women may stay longer, often when the hysterectomy is done because of cancer.
The time it takes for you to resume normal activities depends on the type of surgery. If you had:
- Abdominal surgery. Recovery takes from 4 to 6 weeks. You will gradually be able to increase your activities.
- Vaginal or laparoscopic surgery. Recovery takes 3 to 4 weeks.