Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. A hysterectomy may be recommended to treat many uterine conditions, such as:
In the U.S., doctors perform approximately 600,000 hysterectomies a year, making it the second most common surgery for women.1 While this figure is lower in many other parts of the world, hysterectomy is still a common procedure. Fortunately, there are more choices than ever before for the type of hysterectomy as well as the surgical approach.
All hysterectomies involve removal of the uterus but other reproductive organs may or may not also need to be removed. The type of hysterectomy your doctor recommends will depend on your specific condition. Keep in mind, if your hysterectomy involves removing the ovaries and you have not started menopause, removing the ovaries will cause menopause to begin. Your doctor may therefore recommend hormone replacement therapy if your ovaries are removed.
Types of hysterectomy include:
When a hysterectomy is performed for cancerous conditions – such as uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancer – the surgeon will remove the cancerous organ and certain lymph nodes. This is often referred to as a lymph node dissection or lymphadenectomy. Lymph nodes will be removed in certain areas based on the location and extent or stage of the cancer.
Your fallopian tubes and ovaries may or may not be removed during your hysterectomy. This will depend on several factors including your condition and age. Removal of the ovaries is called an oophorectomy. Removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries is called a salpingo-oophorectomy.
Just as there are several types of hysterectomies, there are also several ways your doctor can perform the procedure, including:Open hysterectomy
The uterus is removed through a large abdominal incision. The majority of hysterectomies are performed using this “open” approach. When both the uterus and cervix are removed, this is known as a TAH – Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. The main limitations of an open hysterectomy are the long incision required and lengthy recovery of 4-6 weeks.2Vaginal hysterectomy
The uterus is removed through the vagina. There are no abdominal incisions but the surgeon makes a small cut in the vagina to remove the uterus. This approach is often used if the patient’s condition is benign (non-cancerous), limited to the uterus, and the uterus is a normal size. When the uterus and cervix are removed through an incision deep inside the vagina, it is known as a TVH – Total Vaginal Hysterectomy, and is often used to treat pelvic prolapse (falling).
The primary limitation of a vaginal hysterectomy is the surgeon’s limited view of the pelvic organs. This procedure can also be challenging if the patient has severe endometriosis or had prior pelvic surgeries such as a C-section that caused adhesions. Recovery from a vaginal hysterectomy can take 3-4 weeks.2Laparoscopic hysterectomy
The uterus is removed minimally invasively using instruments inserted through a few small incisions in the abdomen. One of the instruments is an endoscope – a narrow tube with a tiny camera – which allows the surgeon to see the target anatomy on a 2D monitor. When only the uterus is removed, the procedure is called LSH – Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy. When the uterus and cervix are removed, this is known as TLH – Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy can be challenging during complex procedures because of the long-handled, rigid instruments used, and recovery can take 3-4 weeks.2da Vinci Hysterectomy
Fortunately, there is a minimally invasive option for treating gynecologic conditions designed to overcome the limitations of traditional surgery – da Vinci Surgery.
If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy to treat your condition, you may be a candidate for da Vinci Surgery. Using state-of-the-art technology, a da Vinci® Hysterectomy requires only a few tiny incisions, so you can get back to your life faster.
The da Vinci System enables your doctor to perform a minimally invasive hysterectomy even for complex conditions with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. da Vinci offers women many potential benefits over traditional surgery, including:
The da Vinci System is a state-of-the-art surgical platform with 3D, high-definition vision and miniaturized, wristed surgical instruments designed to help doctors take surgery beyond the limits of the human hand. By helping doctors to overcome the challenges of traditional open and laparoscopic surgery, da Vinci is changing the experience of surgery for women around the world.
If you have been putting off treatment for a gynecologic condition, it's time to ask your doctor about da Vinci Surgery.
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient, condition and procedure. It is important to talk to your doctor about all treatment options, including the risks and benefits. This information can help you to make the best decision for your situation.
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci Surgical System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. There are no guarantees of outcome. All surgeries involve the risk of major complications. Before you decide on surgery, discuss treatment options with your doctor. Understanding the risks of each treatment can help you make the best decision for your individual situation. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual; it may not be applicable to your condition. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. Only your doctor can determine whether da Vinci Surgery is appropriate for your situation. The clinical information and opinions, including any inaccuracies expressed in this material by patients or doctors about da Vinci Surgery, are not necessarily those of Intuitive Surgical, Inc. and should not be considered as substitute for medical advice provided by your doctor. © 2010 Intuitive Surgical. All rights reserved.
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