Over 90% of women in the UK who have a hysterectomy still have an operation through a wide surgical incision in the lower tummy (abdominal) wall. This can be painful and is generally associated with a long recovery period (typically several months). A laparoscopic hysterectomy is an alternative operation, which is only available in a few centres in the UK.
There are several different types of hysterectomy. These include ‘total’ and ‘subtotal’ procedures which are differentiated by whether or not you have your cervix (the entrance or neck of the uterus (the womb)) removed as well as your uterus. Dr Martin generally prefers to perform total hysterectomy because whilst this is a technically more difficult procedure, it has several potential advantages. Firstly, it means that the patient will never need cervical smear tests again and, secondly, it guarantees no bleeding, which sometimes may be experienced by patients who have a subtotal hysterectomy.
Before your operation you will have the opportunity to discuss whether the ovaries and fallopian tubes should also be removed. This will be dependent on your age and the reason for your hysterectomy.
The type of hysterectomy recommended will depend on your personal circumstances and will be discussed fully with Dr Martin prior to your surgery date.
Further information can be found on the website of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (www.rcog.org.uk), to which Dr Martin is affiliated.
Every woman will have a slightly different experience of surgery and recovery can be influenced by a number of factors such as how fit and well they are before the operation, the reason for the hysterectomy and any complications following surgery.