The removal of the uterus or womb. It is recommended as a treatment for heavy bleeding, irregular bleeding, fibroids, prolapse and painful periods (endometriosis, adenomyosis). Hysterectomy is also performed in the treatment of various gynaecological cancers
There are three types of hysterectomy
Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
TOTAL LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY
Dr Cook has particular expertise in Total laparoscopic hysterectomy after having trained and worked in an advanced laparoscopic unit for many years.
WHAT IS TOTAL LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY?
Total laparoscopic hysterectomy is a surgical procedure for the removal of the uterus and cervix. In this technique, the uterus is separated from its attachments to the pelvis and removed through the vagina. The ovaries and fallopian tubes can also be removed. Dr Cook will discuss this with you
WHY IS A LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY PERFORMED?
Total laparoscopic hysterectomy is done to treat conditions such as painful or heavy menstrual periods, pelvic pain, fibroids or may be performed as a part of cancer treatment. You should clearly understand the reason for this surgery.
Ask for a Second Opinion
Dr Cook performs 99% of hysterectomies as a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy procedure.Laparoscopic hysterectomy has benefits such as shorter recovery period, with faster return to usual activities, reduced postoperative pain, minimal scarring and less risk of post-operative adhesions. Few gynaecologists have the skills necessary to perform a Total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Most hysterectomies in Australia are still performed open (Open Abdominal Hysterectomy).
Please make an appointment to see me for a second opinion if you have been advised to have a Open Abdominal Hysterectomy and before you commit to having a large scar.
ARE THERE OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO THIS TREATMENT?
There are other conservative interventions which may be appropriate for your particular condition. Dr Cook will discuss the other options with you to help you make a well informed decision regarding what is right for you.
Dr Cook will discuss with you the role for removal of the ovaries. Removal of the ovaries is recommended for women over the age of 50 years. If the ovaries are not removed you will not experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and night sweats.
HOW IS A LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY PERFORMED?
The procedure is done under general anesthesia in the operating room. A small incision is made just below your umbilicus. The abdomen is inflated with gas and a fibre-optic instrument called laparoscope is inserted to view the internal organs.
Three other small incisions are be made on your abdomen through which tiny surgical instruments are passed. Then, the uterus, cervix and tubes are removed along with or without both ovaries.
The current recommendation is to concurrently remove both tubes as this has been shown to be associated with a lower incidence of ovarian cancer. Total operating time is about 90 minutes.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN BEFORE A LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY?
You can continue taking your regular medications, unless Dr Cook advises otherwise. If you take non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication Dr Cook will recommend that you discontinue this one week prior to surgery.
You will need to have a bowel preparation which will empty your bowel before the surgery. For this, you should be on a liquid diet (soups, jellies, juices or similar drinks) for 24 hours before the surgery. Our Practice Manager will provide you with instructions on this.
You will be admitted to hospital on the day of your operation. You will meet the anaesthetist to discuss the anaesthetic and any concerns you may have.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED DURING THE RECOVERY PERIOD?
You will be in the recovery room when you wake up from anesthesia. You may feel sleepy for the next few hours. You may have pain in the shoulder or back which is because of the gas used in the procedure. It resolves within a day or two. You will start eating and drinking normally within a short period of time.
You may have some discomfort or feel tired for a few days after the procedure. Constipation is very common. You will be in hospital for two days following the procedure. Dr Cook will ensure that your stay in hospital is as comfortable as possible.
Contact Dr Cook if pain and nausea does not go away or is becoming worse. You should avoid strenuous activities or exercise until you recover completely. Most women will take two weeks off work and return to work at the start of the third week. Dr Cook will review you again one week after your discharge from hospital.
You may have some vaginal discharge (old blood) for several days after the procedure. You can return to normal activity after two weeks but complete recovery may take longer.After the procedure, you will no longer be menstruating and be unable to conceive. Avoid intercourse for 6 weeks - to allow top of vagina adequate time to heal.
Many women are concerned by a possible change to sex. Many women can feel liberated now they are free of troublesome bleeding, pain with periods, discomfort from prolapse and no further need for contraception. Libido can be improved with an improvement in wellbeing.
POSSIBLE RISKS OF A LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY?
As with any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and complications which include:
Problems due to the anaesthesia
Injury to the internal organs - 1/1000 risk of inadvertent damage to bladder, bowel or ureter
Any specific risks and complications will be discussed prior to the procedure.
What is vaginal hysterectomy?
Vaginal hysterectomy is an alternative surgical procedure to abdominal hysterectomy. In this procedure, the uterus is removed through the vagina rather than through the incision in the abdomen.
What are the advantages of the vaginal hysterectomy over abdominal hysterectomy?
Recovery following vaginal hysterectomy is much faster than abdominal hysterectomy. You may be discharged from the hospital in a day or two and you can return to your daily activities within a few weeks after the surgery.
Who are the good candidates for vaginal hysterectomy?
Individuals with the following conditions and those who don’t have enlarged uterus are considered as eligible candidates for vaginal hysterectomy,
How is vaginal hysterectomy performed?
You may be given general or regional anaesthesia. An incision is made in the vagina and the uterus is removed through it. The incision in the vagina is then closed with absorbable stitches.
What are the risks of the vaginal hysterectomy?
Vaginal hysterectomy is generally safe. Complications may include infection, blood loss, blood clot usually in the leg vein or damage to the nearby organs in the abdomen and pelvic region such as urinary bladder, ureter or bowel. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the chances of complications due to surgery.
What to expect after the vaginal hysterectomy?
Recovery after vaginal hysterectomy is fast. Medicines are prescribed for pain and to prevent infection.
Bleeding from the vagina is normal and will last for a 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 conceive after the vaginal hysterectomy.
If ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed along with uterus in vaginal hysterectomy you may have vaginal dryness or hot flushes, the symptoms of menopause.
These may be treated with medicines, if required. You will be able to do normal activities in around two weeks after the surgery, but should not lift heavy objects or have vaginal intercourse until the sixth week post operatively.
What if I come across any problem during the 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
A 10 cm incision is made in the lower abdomen. This is performed if the uterus is significantly enlarged by numerous fibroids or if there is gross pelvic pathology including adhesions. It is also performed in cases of cancer.
What are the Advantages oF Abdominal Hysterectomy
The main advantage is to the surgeon who has greater access to the pelvis. The procedure lasts about 60-90 minutes.
What Can I expect from an ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY
You will be in hospital for about 3 days. It will be about 4 weeks to recover at home. Most women will return to work by the start of the 5th week.