A hysterectomy is an operation in which the uterus is removed. There are two main types: in a total hysterectomy the uterus and cervix are removed; in a subtotal hysterectomy only the uterus is removed. Occasionally, the ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed. In all types, the operation is carried out under general anaesthesia. The operation may be performed through an incision in the abdomen (abdominal hysterectomy) or through the vagina (vaginal hysterectomy). Less commonly, a hysterectomy may be performed by “keyhole surgery” using a laparoscope (a viewing tube); this normally involves several small incisions in the abdomen through which the surgeon performs the operation. After a hysterectomy, you may have vaginal bleeding and some pain. You will need to stay in hospital for several days, and recovery may take 6–8 weeks, depending on your health.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.