This page will provide you with information about having an abdominal hysterectomy. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy operation involves removing the uterus (womb), and usually the cervix as well. In some cases your ovaries may also need to be removed (see Figure 1).
Reasons for needing an abdominal hysterectomy include fibroids, ovarian cysts, and particularly heavy or painful periods.
What are the benefits of an abdominal hysterectomy?
As well as no longer having periods, hysterectomies can cure - or at the very least, improve - other negative symptoms.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Some oral medications can help treat heavy periods, as can removing the womb lining or being treated with an IUD (intra-uterine) device. In the case of fibroids, medication can manage the symptoms (depending on their size) or surgery can remove them. Uterine artery embolisation is another option.
What will happen during the operation?
Abdominal hysterectomies are performed under general anaesthetic and usually take an hour to complete. The gynaecologist will make an incision on your ‘bikini line’ (abdomen) before removing your womb and possibly your cervix through this incision. The surgeon will also need to make an incision at the top of your vagina in order to remove the cervix.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
Patients can usually go home four to six days after the operation, but will need to rest for two weeks and repeat the exercises taught in hospital. Depending on the nature of your job you will usually be able to return to work after six to eight weeks, and should feel back to yourself after around 12 weeks. Regular exercise can help with recovery, but it’s advisable to consult your health professional for advice on this.
EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.