Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
What is a hysterectomy? How should you prepare for your operation? Below, you can read about the procedure, the related risks and the post-operative period following a hysterectomy.
Removal of female genitals
- Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy)
- Removal of the vagina (colpectomy)
- Removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)
- Removal of the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy )
About the hysterectomy
- Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy): to remove only the uterus (and the ovaries), or in combination with a mastectomy.
- Robotic laparoscopic surgery: combination of removal of uterus and vagina. This procedure is conducted by the Da Vinci robot and leaves fewer scars than the keyhole surgery.
Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy)
Hysterectomy in combination with other gynaecological operations
- Hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
- Hysterectomy and mastectomy (removal of the breasts)
- Hysterectomy and colpectomy (removal of the vagina)
Combination 1: Hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
Combination 2: Hysterectomy and mastectomy (removal of the breasts)
Combination 3: Hysterectomy and colpectomy (removal of the vagina)
Medication and pain relief
Complications and risks during and after surgery
- Haemorrhaging during or after surgery. Loss of blood and fluids during the operation is common, but if there is a large amount of blood loss, this is considered a complication. A blood transfusion may then be necessary. Haemorrhaging may also occur after the operation (including once your are back home again), and may require another operation to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, it is necessary to insert a gauze to stop the bleeding.
- Infection. The abdominal incisions or those in the vagina can become infected. This can already occur in the hospital. Sometimes, it can be treated with antibiotics, but in other instances, surgery will be needed to clear up the infection.
- Thrombosis. With any operation, there is a slightly increased risk of thrombosis (i.e. a blood clot in a blood vessel). You can reduce the risk of this happening by starting to move around again as soon as you can, after the operation, rather than lying still in bed. In hospital, you will also be provided with medication that will help to prevent this.
- Damage to bladder, bowel or urinary tract. During the operation, the bladder, bowel or urinary tract may become damaged. If this is obvious during the operation, it will be repaired immediately, if possible. Sometimes, a separate operation will be needed. If the bladder is damaged, a urinary catheter will be inserted that will remain in place for at least seven days, so will also be there when you are at home. Damage to the bowel is very rare.
- Inability to completely empty the bladder (urinary retention). After the operation, it may be that the bladder cannot empty itself, sufficiently. If this happens, a bladder catheter will be reinserted, sometimes for a longer period of time. Usually, the bladder will fully recover.
- Bladder infection (cystitis). The bladder catheter used during the procedure, in some instances, may cause a bladder infection. If you suspect you have a bladder infection, contact your treating physician or your general practitioner.
- Incomplete healing of vagina top. The wound edges at the vaginal apex may become separated, creating an opening between the vagina and the abdominal cavity. Correcting this situation will always require surgery.
This text was edited on 14-10-2022
We recommend that you go through all the information step by step to get a complete picture of the different treatment options and the process around them!
Back to overview
Colpectomy (removal of the vagina)
Colpectomy is a gynecological surgery in which the vagina is removed. Here you can read all about the surgery and the recovery process.