What Is an Abdominal Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the womb from your body. An abdominal hysterectomy is a hysterectomy that is performed though an incision in the abdomen.
Who Requires an Abdominal Hysterectomy?
If your periods are heavy, painful, or irregular, and your healthcare provider has not been able to identify any serious cause for this condition, an abdominal hysterectomy may be required. Removing only the womb lining may lessen the bleeding, but will not stop it. An alternative to an abdominal hysterectomy is a vaginal hysterectomy where the hysterectomy is done through a vaginal cut, but this is not feasible if your womb is large or earlier operations have scarred it. A recent alternative your healthcare provider may suggest is a hysterectomy using keyhole surgery to free the body of the womb allowing removal through the vagina.
What Happens in an Abdominal Hysterectomy?
Using a general anesthetic or an epidural (an injection in your spine that numbs you from the waist down), your surgeon will make an incision in the lower abdomen (usually above the hairline) to gain access to the womb. The surgeon will then remove the womb, as well as your ovaries if they are diseased, stitch the top of the vagina and the skin, and send the tissues to a laboratory for microscopic examination. Postoperative stay is generally five days, during which time your healthcare provider will supply necessary painkillers and an IV drip to replenish salt, sugar, water, and blood. You will need to wear sanitary pads for a few days due to slight vaginal bleeding. You might also require blood and urine tests after a few days to check for anemia and urinary infection. If your ovaries are removed, hormone replacement therapy may be prescribed to tackle menopause-like symptoms. You will feel tired and need frequent rest for a month, after which you may resume all regular activities.