Total Abdominal Hysterectomy
Surgical removal of the uterus along with the cervix is called total hysterectomy. It is usually done by making an incision in the abdomen.
Who are the candidates for total abdominal hysterectomy?
Primary indication for total abdominal hysterectomy is cancer of the uterus or cervix. It is also used to treat uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, persistent prolonged bleeding if other alternative methods fail to treat the condition. You cannot conceive and become pregnant after total abdominal hysterectomy so should discuss the need for the procedure clearly with your doctor before going for the procedure.
How is the total abdominal hysterectomy done?
You are given general anesthesia before the surgery. A vertical or horizontal incision is made in your lower abdomen. The uterus is detached from the surrounding other organs such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper vagina, supporting connective tissue and blood vessels and is then removed through this incision. Sometimes ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed along with the uterus. The incision is then closed with the stitches and the dressing is placed over the area. The procedure may take about one to two hours.
What are the risks associated with the procedure?
Total abdominal hysterectomy is generally safe. Complications may include infection, blood loss, blood clot usually in the leg vein, reaction to anesthesia or damage to the other nearby organs in the abdomen and pelvic region such as urinary bladder, ureter or bowel.
What to expect after the total abdominal hysterectomy?
Recovery after total abdominal hysterectomy takes longer time as compared to vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomy. You may need to stay in the hospital after the procedure for one to four days. Bleeding from the vagina is normal and will last for few weeks after the surgery. Use of sanitary pads should be preferred as tampons increase the risk of infection. You will not have periods and cannot become pregnant after the vaginal hysterectomy. If ovaries are removed along with uterus you will have menopause. Medicines are given for pain and to prevent infection. Complete recovery may usually take six to eight weeks after the surgery. You should not lift heavy objects or have vaginal intercourse until the sixth week or till the complete healing of the vagina occurs.
What if I come across any problem during recovery period?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the below mentioned conditions:
- Offensive vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Inability to empty your bladder or bowels
- Severe pain