Next to C-sections, hysterectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed on women, with about 600,000 surgeries done each year. Though common, it can be a major event, with long recovery times for some types of the procedure.
You may have options, depending on the reason for your hysterectomy. At OBGYN Care in Newport Beach and Irvine, California, Dr. Catalin Marinescu specializes in minimally invasive, robotically assisted pelvic surgery using the da VinciⓇ Surgical System. Our fertility specialist, Dr. Kendra Baker, also commits to minimally invasive and robotic techniques.
There are three approaches to hysterectomy surgery. Here’s what you need to know before discussing your needs with your OBGYN Care doctor.
Reasons for hysterectomy
Hysterectomy involves removing the uterus for medical reasons. Common conditions for which surgery is chosen include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding that doesn’t respond to other treatments
- Cancer of the cervix, ovaries, or uterus
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Thickening of the uterus (adenomyosis)
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine prolapse
Hysterectomy is typically a last resort procedure, chosen when more conservative therapies fail to produce adequate results. This is not the case for cancer or conditions that could compromise other aspects of your health.
Types of hysterectomy
While the uterus is a key organ in the pelvic region, it’s not the only one. Depending on your reason for surgery, we may recommend one of three approaches.
The uterus is removed along with the cervix, the portion of the uterus that extends into the vaginal canal.
The cervix is left in place, leaving the vagina in its pre-surgery state. This is also called a supracervical hysterectomy.
Total hysterectomy including ovaries and fallopian tubes
The entire cervix is removed along with the ovaries (oophorectomy) or with the ovaries and fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy).
The choice of approach depends partly on your medical history. For example, if you have a history of abnormal Pap smears, a partial hysterectomy that leaves the cervix may increase your future risk of cancer.
As well as surgical types, there are also three general surgical methods. Traditionally, surgeries were open, meaning that the surgeon opened the abdomen to see the surgical field and to allow access for instruments and tissue removal. This is called abdominal hysterectomy, and it requires the longest recovery time.
Vaginal hysterectomy is possible in some cases, avoiding the abdominal incision of open surgery, therefore speeding recovery time. The uterus is accessed from the vagina. This method uses longer surgical instruments and internal incisions are sealed with dissolving sutures.
Robotic hysterectomy accesses the uterus through the abdomen using several keyhole incisions, about one-half-inch long. These permit entry of robotic surgical instruments and cameras to remove the need for larger incisions. Robotic tools are precise and have minimal impact on surrounding tissue. You’ll be on your feet faster with a robotically assisted hysterectomy than with other approaches. This is Dr. Marinescu’s preferred technique.
Contact OBGYN Care by phone or online at the most convenient office. You can discuss your upcoming procedure with your doctor to make an informed choice. When hysterectomy is necessary, choose OBGYN Care.