Hysterectomy is the removal of uterus by surgical method. If the uterus is removed along with the cervix it is called complete hysterectomy. If the uterine body is removed leaving behind the cervix, it is called partial hysterectomy. Sometimes the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other surrounding structures are also removed.
Hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that has risks and benefits and affects the hormonal balance in the body. For these reasons hysterectomy is only recommended when all other modalities have failed.
Types of hysterectomy
- Radical hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy involves the complete removal of uterus, cervix, upper vagina and parametrium. Lymph nodes, ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed in such cases.
- Total hysterectomy: This is a type of hysterectomy, which involves the removal of uterus and cervix. It may or may not involve the removal of ovaries. Ovaries are clearly not of prime concern in total hysterectomy.
- Subtotal hysterectomy: This is a process of removing the uterus, leaving the cervix in situ. Subtotal hysterectomy was introduced with the view to improve sexual functioning after hysterectomy.
The Need for Hysterectomy
There are various conditions, where hysterectomy becomes essential.
- When uterine fibroids causes pain, uterine bleeding and other problems, hysterectomy becomes necessary, especially when medical management has failed.
- There are conditions wherein the uterus slides into the vaginal canal and outside. This is known as uterine prolapse.
- Cancer of the uterine, cervix and ovaries.
- Endometriosis, a condition where cells from the lining of uterus appear outside the uterine cavity. It is commonly seen in the reproductive years.
- Intractable bleeding after delivery
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Hysterectomy
The main reason for women to undergo hysterectomy is abnormal uterine bleeding. Hysterectomy relieves abnormal uterine bleeding which is painful and distressing. Hysterectomy prevents uterine cancer and is a lifesaver for women who have a family history of cancerous growths in their uterus. Hysterectomy for fibroids in the uterus offers great relief to those who have symptoms like bleeding, cramps, urinary problems etc.
The disadvantages of Hysterectomy are that it is a surgical process, which involves risks that are seen with any surgery. Also it leads to premature menopause which has its own effects. Removal of ovaries can bring about many health problems like higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, bone weakening and arthritis
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