A hysterectomy is an operation to remove your womb (uterus) and, possibly one or both of your fallopian tubes and ovaries.
What is a hysterectomy?
The meaning of a hysterectomy is major surgery for uterus removal. It is performed to treat conditions that affect your reproductive system when other treatments haven’t worked.
Hysterectomy offers treatment for:
- fibroids (non-cancerous tumours)
- heavy periods
- long-term pelvic pain
- uterine prolapse (weak uterine support causes your uterus to drop down from its normal position)
- endometriosis (cells that line the womb end up in other areas of your body and reproductive system)
- ovarian cancers or cancer of the womb or cervix.
What are the types of hysterectomy surgery?
There are different types of hysterectomy. The type of hysterectomy surgery you have will depend on why you need the operation and how much of your womb and surrounding reproductive system can safely be left in place.
- Total hysterectomy – the most commonly performed procedure. This full hysterectomy surgery removes your womb and cervix (neck of the womb). .
- Subtotal hysterectomy – also known as a partial hysterectomy. Removal of the top part of your womb and your cervix is left in place. .
- Total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy – removal of your womb, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries. .
- Radical hysterectomy – womb removal with its surrounding tissues, including your fallopian tubes, part of your vagina, ovaries, lymph glands and fatty tissue.
- After uterus removal during hysterectomy surgery, you will not be able to have children or have periods any more. If you have ovary removal, you will go through the menopause. .
What does hysterectomy surgery involve?
Hysterectomy surgery usually takes about an hour and is carried out under general anaesthetic. This may vary depending on the type of hysterectomy you have. Your surgeon will discuss the procedure in detail with you and answer any of your questions.
There are three ways to perform a hysterectomy:
- Vaginal hysterectomy – a cut through the vagina allows your surgeon to remove your womb (and fallopian tubes/ovaries if necessary).
- Abdominal hysterectomy – your womb (and fallopian tubes/ovaries if necessary) is removed through a large cut in your lower abdomen.
- Laparoscopic or keyhole hysterectomy - a tube-like camera and special surgical instruments are passed through small cuts in your abdomen to remove your womb (and fallopian tubes/ovaries if necessary).
What is the cost of hysterectomy surgery?
You will receive a formal quotation price following a referral from your GP or clinician. This formal quote for your hysterectomy procedure will be valid for 60 days.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Hysterectomy surgery is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to check with your insurance provider and obtain their written authorisation before commencing treatment.
We offer a number of finance options to pay for your surgery, including: All-inclusive Total Care where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance, pay as you go and, medical finance loans.
Hysterectomy recovery can vary for every woman and it depends on the type of surgery performed.
Vaginal and abdominal hysterectomies require a hospital stay of two to four days. Laparoscopic hysterectomy is less invasive, with smaller scars and a quicker recovery period to traditional hysterectomy surgery, so you can expect to be in the hospital for one to two days.
It can take up to a couple of months to fully recover. Some women return to work after three weeks, others after two months.
Your gynaecologist will give you advice for your procedure recovery that you should follow.
What not to do after a hysterectomy
Your hysterectomy aftercare is important. You should follow any information and advice given by your surgeon and the healthcare team.
Here are ten things that you should take care not to do after a hysterectomy procedure
- Don’t worry about getting your scars wet - you can shower or bath the day after your operation and pat your scars dry. Keeping your scars clean and dry helps their healing.
- Don’t become inactive – there are many benefits to getting mobile as soon as possible. For example, you will recover faster, you will be less likely to suffer from blood clots and trapped wind, and you will be less likely to develop a chest infection.
- Don’t cross your legs for too long especially when you are lying down as this can decrease the blood flow in the veins of your legs and increase the likelihood of a blood clot.
- Don’t drive – it can take up to six weeks to be able to start driving again. You need to be able to sit in the car and control your driving comfortably.
- Don’t strain to empty your bowels. Ensure you eat a balanced high-fibre diet and drink plenty to avoid constipation.
- Don’t forget to do daily pelvic floor exercises – it is important to get your pelvic floor muscles working properly and pelvic floor exercises should be a daily part of hysterectomy aftercare regime.
- Don’t lift heavy objects – until three to four weeks after your procedure to ensure you fully heal internally. This includes full shopping bags or children and strenuous housework such as vacuuming.
- Don’t use tampons for vaginal bleeding straight after your hysterectomy procedure, as this could increase your risk of infection.
- Don’t have sex for four to six weeks after your procedure to allow your scars to heal.
- Don’t worry if you feel tired or emotional – it’s normal and often being tired can make you more emotional. Allow yourself time to recover and for your body to heal itself.
A hysterectomy is generally a very safe procedure but, as with any major surgery, there are risks of complications that include; heavy bleeding, wound infection, damage to your bladder or bowel, developing a haematoma, secondary premature ovarian failure, pelvic prolapse, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and, a serious reaction to the general anaesthetic.
You may also experience some short-term side effects such as; bowel and bladder changes, vaginal discharge and, menopausal and emotional symptoms.
Hysterectomy surgery with Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care we are committed to delivering excellent individual and personalised care across our network of private hospitals around the UK.
Our dedicated, highly experienced and compassionate consultant gynaecologists together with their support team will look after you and provide the best treatment and aftercare for you.
All the treatment you require including your choice of consultant, nursing care, physiotherapy, hospital accommodation plus freshly prepared meals, a follow-up consultation with your gynaecologist and unlimited hysterectomy aftercare are included in your Ramsay Total Care package.
We have strict protocols in place for infection prevention and control to keep you safe during your visit to us.