Gynaecology Services - Hysterectomy
What is a Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy has special significance for many women. For some it may conflict with traditional concepts of fertility and motherhood, while for others it represents a loss of part of their body or fear of the unknown. These fears and concerns need to be recognised and taken seriously.
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus (womb). The uterus lies in the pelvis, is about the size of a pear, with the bladder in front of it and the rectum behind.
There are three types of Hysterectomy
An abdominal hysterectomy means having your uterus removed through a cut in your abdomen (tummy) . This is made either vertically, from the navel down, or horizontally, just above the "bikini line" (approximately 14-16 cm long).
An abdominal hysterectomy is used if:
An abdominal hysterectomy is also used when the ovaries and pelvic cavity need to be inspected for disease.
A vaginal hysterectomy means the removal of your uterus through your vaginal opening rather than through a cut in your abdomen. The only incision made is internally.
For a vaginal hysterectomy to be performed, the Doctor should be able to remove your uterus easily, e.g. where you have a prolapsed uterus that has dropped down into your vagina.
Instances where it may be more difficult are:
Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH)
After the Uterus has been Removed
Once the uterus has been removed, by either the abdominal or the vaginal method, the lining of the vagina is stitched together at the top end to seal the pelvic cavity.
The space left after the uterus has been removed is filled by the bowel.
Acknowledgements & Source
The information in this page has been drawn from a variety of sources, primarily the following books:
Sandra Coney and Lynn Potter (Heinemann Reed 1990)
Hysterectomy Information Package
Southern Canterbury Women’s Wellness Centre
Staff at Christchurch Women's Hospital
So You're Having a Hysterectomy
Megan Gressor (Gore & Osment Publications)
Some illustrations by Marisa Swanink
Cervical Cancer: A book for Every Woman.