What is Hysterectomy? Procedure and Benefits Explained

what is hysterectomy

The hysterectomy procedure has become more common because of its effectiveness in managing a variety of problems. This article aims to thoroughly delve into the complexities of hysterectomy surgery, the types of hysterectomy, its purposes, and more.

What is Hysterectomy Surgery?

A hysterectomy is a surgical intervention focused on removing the uterus and, when indicated, the cervix. This uterus removal surgery scope includes the removal of adjacent parts, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries, influenced by the underlying health issue. The hysterectomy's profound impact is the cessation of fertility and menstrual periods. It is a decisive measure for addressing various health conditions in the female reproductive system.

Classifications of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy procedures can be classified based on the extent of tissue resection, addressing specific medical needs. Here are the primary classifications:

Total Hysterectomy:

The complete removal of the uterus and cervix is a standard procedure addressing various gynaecological concerns.

Partial Hysterectomy (Sub-total):

Also termed supracervical hysterectomy uterus removal surgery, it involves eliminating the upper part of the uterus while preserving the cervix. Tailored for specific cases.

Comprehensive Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy:

Extensive removal covering the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries dictated by individual health requirements.

Radical Uterine Removal:

An intricate procedure removes the uterus, cervix, parametrium, vaginal cuff and either part or the entirety of the fallopian tubes. Commonly performed for cervical cancer cases.

Different Types of Hysterectomy Procedure

Hysterectomy can be performed with various kinds of surgery operations.

Abdominal Hysterectomy

Abdominal Hysterectomy surgery involves an incision in the abdomen, either low transverse or midline, based on uterus size.

The steps include:

  • A low transverse or midline incision is made in the abdomen, depending on factors like uterus size.
  • Round ligaments are divided.
  • Uterine vessels are ligated and tied.
  • Parametrial tissue is divided.
  • The bladder is reflected down past the cervix.
  • The uterus and cervix are removed through the vagina.
  • The vagina is closed with an absorbable suture.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

It is a minimally invasive procedure with a laparoscope used. Small incisions made at the abdomen allow surgical instruments. The uterus is removed part by part, either via abdomen cuts or the vagina.

The steps include:

  • Small incisions are made in the abdomen, and a laparoscope is used.
  • The uterus, cervix, and possibly tubes and ovaries are removed through the vagina.
  • Bipolar energy or modern energy devices are used for vessel coagulation.

It is usually less painful, fewer chances of infection, and shorter stay in the hospital when made vaginally rather than an abdominal hysterectomy. However, these increase the probability of urinary tract and other organ infections.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

Vaginal Hysterectomy eliminates abdominal incisions, with the entire procedure conducted through the vagina.

The steps involve:

  • Local anaesthesia is infiltrated around the cervix.
  • A circumferential incision is made around the cervix.
  • The bladder is dissected off the cervix and reflected upwards.
  • Uterosacral ligaments, uterine arteries, and round ligaments are ligated and tied.
  • The uterus and cervix are removed through the vagina.
  • The vagina is closed, ensuring hemostasis.

Your recovery process is shorter with less recuperation period. You can resume your regular activities swiftly compared to other types of hysterectomy.

What is the Purpose of Hysterectomy?

Healthcare providers recommend hysterectomies because there are several benefits of hysterectomy. It addresses various medical conditions and improves a woman's health and lifestyle.

Abnormal or Heavy Vaginal Bleeding:

  • When other treatment methods fail to manage abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding effectively, a hysterectomy is considered a solution to alleviate this distressing symptom.

Severe Menstrual Pain:

  • A hysterectomy may be recommended when severe menstrual pain persists despite alternative treatments, providing relief and improving the individual's quality of life.

Leiomyomas or Uterine Fibroids:

  • Noncancerous tumours, known as leiomyomas or uterine fibroids, can cause discomfort and complications, especially when these growths are unresponsive to other treatments.

Pelvic Pain Related to the Uterus:

  • Pelvic pain associated with the uterus, when not effectively managed by other treatments, may warrant a hysterectomy.

Uterine Prolapse:

  • When the uterus "drops" into the vaginal canal due to weakened support muscles, leading to issues like urinary incontinence or difficulty with bowel movements, a hysterectomy is recommended to address uterine prolapse.

Cervical or Uterine Cancer or Abnormalities:

  • Hysterectomy treatment is essential for cervical or uterine cancer and abnormalities that progress to cancer. This procedure is crucial for cancer prevention and treatment.

Uterine Lining Conditions:

  • Conditions affecting the uterus lining, such as hyperplasia, recurrent uterine polyps, or adenomyosis, require a hysterectomy.

How Long Does a Hysterectomy Procedure Last?

The duration of a hysterectomy surgery ranges from one to three hours. Several factors influence the surgery duration and vary from person to person. Here are some factors that may affect the duration:

Uterus Size:

The size of the uterus determines the length of the procedure. A larger uterus requires more time for careful removal.

Scarring from Previous Surgeries:

If you have scarring from previous surgeries, the surgeon may need extra time to navigate and address these adhesions.

Removal of Additional Tissues:

If endometrial tissue, fallopian tubes, or ovaries of the uterus are removed, the procedure becomes more complex and longer.

What are the Most Common Side Effects of a Hysterectomy?

The hysterectomy is generally safe, but there are potential side effects:

Excessive Bleeding

Though rare, some individuals may experience excessive bleeding post-hysterectomy, occasionally necessitating a blood transfusion.

Injury to Adjacent Organs

There is a potential risk of unintentional damage to nearby organs during the surgical process. Surgeons take utmost care to avoid such injuries, but they can still occur in certain cases.

Blood Clots

Individuals with predisposing factors may face an increased risk of blood clots post-hysterectomy. Measures such as early ambulation and prescribed medications may be employed to mitigate this risk.


There is a potential for hernia development, often at incision sites. Surgeons employ techniques to minimize this risk, but individual factors may contribute to hernia formation.


Pain is a common post-surgery symptom that is typically managed with pain relief measures. The intensity and duration of pain can vary among individuals.

Reactions to Anaesthesia

While rare, some individuals may experience reactions to anaesthesia during the procedure. Anesthesiologists closely monitor patients to ensure their safety throughout the surgery.


Postoperative infections are possible. Patients must adhere to postoperative care, including wound care and prescribed antibiotics.


Undergoing a hysterectomy can induce stress, particularly when considering the reasons behind this decision. It is imperative to engage in open communication with your surgeon, posing questions that elucidate what is hysterectomy, the procedure, the benefits of hysterectomy surgery, associated risks, potential side effects and the anticipated recovery period. Post-hysterectomy, health changes may manifest, including induced menopause for those yet to experience it. Despite the potential stress, the procedure often brings substantial relief from the symptoms necessitating a hysterectomy. Obtaining comprehensive knowledge in advance and discussing coping strategies with healthcare providers can prove beneficial in preparing for and navigating the post-hysterectomy phase.