Turning To A Hysterectomy
There comes a time when a doctor will discuss the possibility of a hysterectomy with a patient. For some, a hysterectomy may seem like a drastic decision. But the procedure can often be the best treatment for the long-term health of the patient. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the woman’s uterus or all reproductive organs. More than 600,000 hysterectomies happen every year. In the past, these were vaginal or open procedures with significant risk factors. Then in 1989, doctors developed laparoscopic hysterectomy, a minimally invasive approach with great success.
Why choose laparoscopic hysterectomy?
Why would doctors recommend a laparoscopic hysterectomy? The reasons include intense pelvic pain and uncontrolled heavy bleeding due to fibroids. Other causes include a pelvic prolapse, endometriosis, or possible cancer. Before the procedure, both surgeon and the patient discuss what will be removed. Surgeons typically remove the uterus. However, the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and even the cervix can be removed based on the circumstances. Understandably, patients often have serious concerns and many questions. For clarity, here are 3 questions to ask before proceeding with the operation.
1. What happens during the procedure?
The surgeon will perform a minimally invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy. The procedure uses button-hole incisions or ports so the surgeon can insert small tools to operate on the organs. The surgeon creates an incision near the navel and adds the camera for an HD view of the uterus. Then 3-4 additional incisions are needed to insert small tools. These tools remove the womb or any other parts of the reproductive system. The surgeon then removes the uterus either through the vagina or additional incisions.
2. Will I still experience menopause with a hysterectomy?
Menopause happens when a woman’s period stops. With menopause, the ovaries stop producing the estrogen needed for pregnancy. The woman will go through a cycle of changes, including perimenopause and post-menopause. Menopause after a hysterectomy depends on if the surgeon removes the ovaries. At this point, menopause may happen immediately, and more intensely, since there are no ovaries to produce estrogen. If the ovaries are intact, the patient may experience premenstrual symptoms. Menopause will happen at the usual age range but can start faster due to the surgery.
3. Are there any side effects from the surgery?
With any surgical procedure, there are standard risks. These include infections and reactions to anesthesia. However, hysterectomies carry additional risks. These include heavy bleeding, blood clots, trouble urinating, and damage to adjacent organs. Both open and vaginal surgeries carry these risks. Rest assured, a laparoscopic procedure reduces the chances of these side effects significantly. Speak with a doctor about the risks and steps to prevent any complications.
Get better informed before surgery
These are only 3 of a multitude of questions patients should ask about laparoscopic hysterectomy. Questions can cover anything from pre-existing conditions, recovery rates, and the possibility of having children. Some factors determine if the patient qualifies for laparoscopic surgery. Write down every possible question that comes to mind. Then speak with the doctor before surgery for more support and assurance for a successful procedure.