Have you been dealing with pelvic pain for too long? Is heavy, frequent, or irregular uterine bleeding disrupting your life? Have you avoided pursuing other options because nothing has worked so far?
If so, a hysterectomy – a surgery to remove the uterus and cervix – may be recommended by a gynecologist.
When medications or hormonal therapies have failed to help conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or PCOS, it may be time to consider a hysterectomy.
Have you avoided considering a hysterectomy because you are worried about the pain and recovery that may come with surgery? You may be surprised to know that much has changed over recent years when it comes to the way hysterectomies are performed.
In the past, many patients requiring a hysterectomy did not have many options other than surgery that required large incisions. Now, patients have several surgery options including many types of minimally invasive hysterectomies.
Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy – What is it and what are the different types?
Minimally invasive surgery has been a rapidly growing area of medical research and improvement, and hysterectomy has been no exception. A minimally invasive hysterectomy is any hysterectomy that does NOT require a large incision on the abdomen or stomach, to remove the uterus. There are several types of minimally invasive hysterectomies:
- Vaginal Hysterectomy – It may sound odd, but the uterus can be removed through the vagina. A vaginal hysterectomy is associated with the least amount of pain and has the lowest complication rates.
- Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – This uses three to four very small incisions in the abdomen that are less than one centimeter (or less then about half of an inch) in size to remove the uterus.
- Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – The assistance of the DaVinci Robot allows for the ability to perform more complicated hysterectomies through laparoscopic incisions. Before the invention of robotic surgical devices, these hysterectomies were performed through large incisions.
Minimally invasive surgeries are associated with shorter recovery times, less pain and lower risks of complications than surgeries that use large incisions.
Hysterectomy Facts — True and False
You may be interested to know that a hysterectomy is actually one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. Despite this, there are still many questions and some misconceptions about what to expect when planning for a hysterectomy.
True or False: A hysterectomy will cause me to go into menopause.
False. A hysterectomy most commonly involves removing the uterus along with the cervix and sometimes the fallopian tubes. While removing the uterus means bleeding with menstrual cycles will stop, these structures do not produce hormones and have no impact on when a patient enters menopause. The ovaries are completely separate organs from the uterus and are often left in place when a hysterectomy is performed. This allows patients to maintain their own natural hormones which are known to support both heart health and bone health.
True or False: I will not be able to get pregnant if I have a hysterectomy.
True. After a hysterectomy, it is impossible to get pregnant. It is important to make sure you have considered family planning before undergoing a hysterectomy.
True or False: It will take me a long time to recover from surgery and require a long hospitalization.
False. Patients who have minimally invasive hysterectomies are discharged from the hospital either on the day of surgery or the day following surgery. Nearly all recovery can occur in the comfort of your own home.
True or False: I will have some control over my own recovery from surgery.
True. By focusing on controlling other medical issues before and after surgery, recovery can be expedited, and the risk of complications related to surgery can be significantly decreased.
Planning for Surgery – What to Expect
Certain steps may be recommended by your Duly Health and Care gynecologist to plan for your surgery.
If you have not yet tried non-invasive treatment options such as medications, these will be recommended. Non-invasive treatments will work for many patients and help them avoid risks of surgery entirely. Many insurance companies will not cover the expense of surgery until at least one non-invasive treatment has been tried. Other diagnostic testing may also be recommended which may include blood work and/or imaging procedures, such as a pelvic ultrasound.
If surgery is the best option for you, your gynecologist will work with you to personalize your treatment and determine the best type of hysterectomy for you. Your doctor will consider your medical and surgical history, physical exam and results of diagnostic testing. This is all to ensure that surgery is safe and the best treatment option for you.
Your gynecologist may ask you to see your primary care physician to make sure any other medical conditions are being treated and you are physically ready for surgery.
And finally, your Gynecologist will review the specific risks and benefits of your surgery and make sure you both agree on the plan.
Are you ready to find out what your options are?
Deciding it is time to treat a long-standing issue with surgery is a big deal. At Duly Health and Care, our gynecologists are ready to help you with every step in making this decision and will work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
Schedule an appointment with a Duly Gynecologist today!