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Hysterectomy: aka Complete Hysterectomy, Partial Hysterectomy, Subtotal Hysterectomy, Radical Hysterectomy


What is it?


A hysterectomy is a surgery or operation that removes a woman’s womb or uterus. A uterus is the part of a woman’s body where the fetus or baby would grow during pregnancy. Many times during what is called a radical hysterectomy, a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix is removed too. Usually this occurs when a woman has cancer to help prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.


The ovaries, uterus and cervix are all contained in the lower part of the woman’s abdomen. These are all part of her reproductive system. These organs are largely responsible for producing a woman’s eggs and hormones. Many women will have to take hormone replacement therapy once these organs, especially the ovaries are removed. The various types of hysterectomies include:


  • Total hysterectomy, where the cervix and uterus are removed. This is the most common form of hysterectomy removed and is also known as the complete hysterectomy.
  • Partial hysterectomy, where the upper portion of the uterus is taken but the cervix remains intact.
  • Radical hysterectomy, where all of the organs of the reproductive system, including the uterus and the cervix and the ovaries are often taken.


Taking the ovaries and fallopian tubes and uterus will end a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle so a woman will no longer be able to get pregnancy and most women will experience symptoms of menopause if the woman was not in menopause to begin with when the procedure takes place.


More than half a million hysterectomies are performed each year.


The Operation


During the procedure, most doctors make an incision in the lower abdomen or vagina to remove the organs. Some doctors perform this surgery using a laparoscope, where they insert a tiny camera into the body during a vaginal hysterectomy. The type of hysterectomy performed will depend largely on the reason the doctor has to perform the surgery. Usually an abdominal hysterectomy takes the longest to recover from.


Alternatives to Surgery


Many patients prefer to try alternatives to surgery if they have conditions that may benefit from treatments other than surgery. Here are some treatments that may help apart from surgery for conditions unrelated to cancer:


  • Medications - certain drugs can help alleviate pain and bleeding especially for patients with endometriosis.
  • Uterine and endometrial ablation - this can help with bleeding and fibroid or tissue growths in the uterus and lining of the uterus.
  • Myomectomy - this is for removing tumors and tissue growths associated with fibroids as well. It is not as involved as a hysterectomy.


Before the Operation


Before the operation a surgeon will likely use an ultrasound to visualize the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix. This will help the doctor see what is going on inside the body and what areas need to be operated on. The doctor may recommend you abstain from taking any medications including NSAID. If you take regular medications you may likely continue taking them; if you smoke your doctor may ask you to stop.


Be sure to check in with your doctor for exact instructions.


After the Operation- At Home


Women undergoing an abdominal hysterectomy will likely recover over a four to eight week time. During this time they can slowly start to engage in physical activity again. The vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomy offer a much quicker response time. Most women are able to get back to work and start exercising lightly again within two weeks. Within six weeks women can start swimming again and enjoying physical or intimate activities in the bedroom.


Possible Complications


Complications that can arise following a hysterectomy can include infection, mood swings, menopause, nausea, recurrence of cancer and scarring. It is impossible to completely eliminate all of the risks associated with surgery, but a good surgeon can do their best to fully inform you and minimize your risks.


General Advice


Hysterectomies can treat cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse and many other health conditions. There are many different ways to approach a hysterectomy. Be sure to consult with a qualified health care professional if you feel a hysterectomy may help improve your health and wellness. No two women are alike so there is no one size fits all approach to a hysterectomy. Your doctor may recommend a partial hysterectomy or a full hysterectomy depending on your unique needs and expected health outcome.


Estimated Costs for Hysterectomy


The cost of a hysterectomy varies considerably based on your health, age, needs and the reasons you need a hysterectomy. If you have cancer and need a radical hysterectomy plus follow up care including radiation therapy and rehabilitation, your expenses are likely to be much higher than someone that just needs a partial hysterectomy for fibroids and no rehabilitation or little rehab after.


The prices below are general estimations. Be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for more exact pricing and a personal consultation and cost estimate.


Country Costs  Hysterectomy
USA $10,000-$20,000
India $3,000
Malaysia $5,000
Singapore $6,000
Thailand $4,500

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