Hysterectomy – Abdominal

This page will provide you with information about Abdominal Hysterectomy. For further details, you should speak to your consultant. If simpler treatments have failed to work, a hysterectomy could be an option for you – although it is a major operation. You symptoms are very likely to improve after the procedure.

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is the surgery to remove your uterus, or womb. During the operation, your cervix will normally be removed too. In addition, your ovaries may be taken out at the same time (see fig. 1).

The main reasons some women decide to have an abdominal hysterectomy include fibroids, painful or heavy periods and ovarian cysts.

What are the benefits of the operation?

After a hysterectomy, you will no longer have periods and it can improve or cure your symptoms.

What are the available alternatives to surgery?

Through the use of oral medication, removing just the lining of the womb or using an intra-uterine device (IUD) heavy periods can be treated. With fibroids, medication can help control the symptoms. Other options include an operation to take out the fibroids only or uterine artery embolisation.

What does surgery involve?

Lasting around 60 minutes, the surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic. A cut will be made by your gynaecologist, typically where your ‘bikini’ line is. Through the cut, they will take out your womb, normally along with your cervix. In order to take out your cervix, a cut will need to be made at the top part of your vagina.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

What is the recovery time?

You will normally be able to return home after 4-6 days, but will need to rest for two weeks and maintain the exercise routine taught to you in hospital. Depending on your job, you should be able to go back to work after 6-8 weeks, and after 3 months you should feel like your normal self. Gentle and regular activity can help you to return to normal more quickly, but this should only be carried out under the advice of your consultant.