Hysterectomy Removal of the Uterus PreOp® Patient Education Feature





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Uploaded on May 25, 2010

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Your doctor has recommended that you have a hysterectomy. But what does that actually mean?

Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus - the organ that holds and protects the fetus during pregnancy.

Hysterectomy often also involves the removal of other parts of the reproductive system, including the ovaries - where eggs are produced - the fallopian tubes which carry the eggs to the uterus and the cervix - or neck of the uterus.

There are many different reasons why a doctor may recommend this kind of surgery.

In many cases, disease or the growth of abnormal tissue will lead a doctor to recommend the removal of the uterus.

In some cases, unusually heavy menstrual flow and the accompanying discomfort may make hysterectomy an important treatment option for patient and physician to consider.

But no matter what the reason behind it, you should be aware that the removal of the uterus and other reproductive organs is a serious step and it can mean significant changes in your life.

After having a hysterectomy, you will not be able to have children and if your ovaries are removed as part of the procedure, you may even need to take medication to replace hormones that your body once produced on its own.

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Your doctor will decide whether to make a vertical...
or horizontal incision.
An incision is made cutting through the skin and muscle of the abdomen.
Next, the surgeon will inspect the general condition of the abdominal organs.
Once the ovaries are exposed the uterus can then be separated from the bladder.
Next, the fallopian tubes are tied off and cut.
All arteries and veins connected to the uterus are tied off and cut as well.
Now the uterus can be pulled upward. This stretches the vagina
allowing the surgeon to cut the uterus free at the cervix.
The surgeon closes the top of the vagina with stitches,
and provides added support by attaching the ligaments that once held the uterus in place.
The incision is then closed...
and a drainage tube may be left inserted at the site.
Finally, a sterile bandage is applied.

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As a normal effect of hysterectomy, you will no longer menstruate and will not be able to have children. If your ovaries were removed you may be prescribed hormone replacement drugs.

Fortunately, Hysterectomy surgery only rarely leads to complications. One potential complication is a persistent residual neuralgia - or pain - around the scar.

It can be either localized or general. It may develop soon after surgery - or even weeks or months later. Usually it will decrease in intensity with time. But in very rare situations, it can become permanent.

A more serious complication comes from accidental damage to the bladder or urinary tract during surgery.
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Once you return home, you will be responsible to keeping the dressing intact and clean.

As with all surgery, you should be alert for signs of infection near the incision - increased swelling, redness, bleeding or other discharge. Your doctor may advise you to be on the alert for other symptoms as well. If you experience any unusual symptoms, report them to your doctor right away.

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