This page will provide you with information about having a laparoscopic hysterectomy. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What is a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is an operation that removes your uterus (womb). Often the cervix (neck of the womb) and your ovaries may also be removed during the same procedure (see Figure 1).
Laparoscopy is a way of performing a surgery using small instruments and a camera inserted through small cuts into a surgical site, in this instance the abdomen.
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Why might I need a hysterectomy?
There are a number of reasons why you might choose to have a hysterectomy, such as for the treatment of:
- Heavy or painful periods
- Ovarian cysts
What are the benefits of a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy may improve or cure the symptoms you are experiencing. Having the operation also means you will no longer have menstrual bleeding.
What are the alternatives to surgery?
A hysterectomy is a major operation that is only recommended after simpler options have failed. Non-surgical alternatives include:
- Hormonal and non-hormonal oral medications to control heavy periods
- An IUD (intra-uterine device, also known as a coil) which can reduce heavy periods
- Medication to control fibroids, depending on their size and position
Alternative surgical procedures include:
- Endometrial ablation, where the lining of the womb is removed
- Uterine artery embolisation, which blocks off the arteries that feed fibroids
What will happen during the operation?
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is most often performed under a general anaesthetic, although a spinal anaesthetic may also be used. The operation usually takes approximately 90 minutes.
Your surgeon will start by making a number small incisions on your abdomen. This will allow them to insert a number of tubes (ports), through which they will insert surgical instruments, along with a telescopic camera (laparoscope).
Your surgeon may also use an instrument to inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide (gas). This will allow them to get a better view inside your abdomen and perform the operation with less obstructions.
Your surgeon may also need to place instruments through your vagina. This will enable them to remove your womb after making a cut around your cervix at the top of your vagina.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
You will usually be able to go home after one to three days, but your gynaecologist will be able to recommend a more specific time when he/she thinks you are medically fit.
You will need to rest for two weeks and continue to do the exercises that you were shown in the hospital to prevent blood clots and other complications. Drink plenty of fluids and try to eat healthily.
Most women feel able to return to work after four to six weeks, but this depends on your type of work.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation 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.