A hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in the U.S. This procedure — which is designed to surgically remove the uterus — can improve a number of health problems affecting the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. Thanks to innovative advances in women’s healthcare, a hysterectomy can now be performed using techniques that are less invasive than traditional, open surgery. At Highland Gynecology, fellowship-trained gynecologist Rachel Haverland, MD, MS offers a vaginal, laparoscopic, and robotic-assisted hysterectomy to treat a range of conditions, including endometriosis, fibroids, and cancer.
- What is Hysterectomy?
- Hysterectomy Candidates
- Hysterectomy Procedure
- Hysterectomy Recovery
- After a Hysterectomy
- Hysterectomy Scars
- Hysterectomy Cost
- Hysterectomy Side Effects
What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a procedure that removes the uterus or womb, effectively stopping a woman’s period and making pregnancy impossible. The cervix is also usually removed, although variations of the procedure, such as a partial hysterectomy, may leave the cervix intact. This surgery is typically performed when health issues are unresponsive to more conservative treatment options, such as non-surgical treatments and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). After a hysterectomy, patients are generally able to enjoy a better quality of life free from the symptoms that originally warranted the procedure.
Who is a Candidate for a Hysterectomy?
There are many reasons why removal of the uterus/fallopian tubes/ovaries may be necessary, particularly when less invasive solutions do not effectively provide relief. Those who may benefit from a hysterectomy include women affected by:
- Uterine prolapse
- Heavy, prolonged, or irregular menstrual bleeding
If you are a good candidate for a hysterectomy, Dr. Haverland will work with you to determine the best surgical approach for your unique needs. Fortunately, the techniques offered at our Dallas practice are considered less invasive than traditional abdominal hysterectomies, allowing less pain and shorter recovery times after the procedure.
How is the Hysterectomy Procedure Performed?
Dr. Haverland has trained extensively in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and can perform a hysterectomy using one of the following techniques:
- Vaginally — The uterus is detached and removed through a small incision made in the vagina.
- Laparoscopically — A few tiny incisions are made in the abdomen, through which a tiny, lighted camera (laparoscope) and specialized surgical instruments are used to remove the uterus.
- Laparoscopically with the da Vinci® robot — A laparoscope and tiny, fully-wristed robotic instruments allow Dr. Haverland to make extremely precise surgical movements at a chairside monitor, translating her controls to the sophisticated robot system in real time. This approach is typically considered the gold standard of performing a hysterectomy for patients who are good candidates for the technique.
A hysterectomy is often performed on an outpatient basis, but some patients may also require an overnight stay in the hospital following surgery. Dr. Haverland will go over the details of your personalized treatment plan in person so you fully understand every aspect of your procedure.
What Can I Expect During the Hysterectomy Recovery Period?
Most patients are able to return to their normal routines approximately two weeks after surgery. In order to prevent blood clots, Dr. Haverland encourages walking around and practicing light ambulation as soon as you feel up to it. Lifting heavy objects, strenuous work responsibilities, and exercise are generally prohibited for four to six weeks, or until Dr. Haverland clears these activities. She will provide instructions about restrictions, post-operative care, and other recovery details in person.
What Can I Expect After a Hysterectomy?
Your periods will stop after a hysterectomy; however, residual bleeding and/or discharge for a few weeks after surgery are also normal. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Haverland if you have any questions about the symptoms you experience following the procedure. Bloating and similar period-like symptoms may occur on occasion, but are generally not a cause for concern.
Depending on the type of hysterectomy you received, your ovaries may have been removed at the same time as your uterus. If your ovaries were not removed, you should not have any hormone-related symptoms. Women who did have their ovaries removed commonly experience symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes. These issues can often be alleviated with treatments involving hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Haverland will explain in further detail during one of your appointments. Please contact Dr. Haverland if you experience pain, fever symptoms, problems urinating, or bright red vaginal bleeding.
Will I Have a Hysterectomy Scar?
All surgical procedures typically leave a scar after surgery, but minimally invasive techniques can often reduce the amount of post-operative scarring following a hysterectomy. Dr. Haverland will evaluate your needs and determine whether a laparoscopic and/or robotic-assisted procedure is the best approach to your hysterectomy — if so, you may have relatively smaller scars when compared to a traditional procedure. She will also show you exactly where and how your scars are likely to appear based on the techniques utilized during your unique procedure. Taking good care of your incisions based on Dr. Haverland’s aftercare instructions can help them heal as optimally as possible, increasing the likelihood that they fade to some extent over time.
How Much Does a Hysterectomy Cost?
A hysterectomy is usually performed as a medical necessity, therefore costs are often partially or fully covered by insurance. Our office will gladly help assess your expenses and guide you through the insurance process once Dr. Haverland gains an understanding of your needs. Many factors can influence hysterectomy costs, including:
- The type of hysterectomy performed (partial, total, etc.)
- The technique used during your procedure
- Each person’s insurance policy
During your consultation, our office can also walk you through the gynecologic surgery financing options available to you if you have any out-of-pocket costs. We strive to provide affordable, high-quality care for Dallas women experiencing debilitating healthcare conditions, and our team would be happy to speak with you about any questions or concerns you may have regarding the cost of a hysterectomy.
What are the Most Common Hysterectomy Side Effects?
Like other types of surgery, feelings of tenderness, discomfort, numbness, or itching are common immediately after a hysterectomy and should gradually subside based on your unique rate of healing. Complications are very rare after a hysterectomy, but every surgery comes with a slight chance of blood clots, infection, post-surgery bleeding, urinary dysfunction, or problems related to the anesthesia. Dr. Haverland will help ensure you know all of the possible risks so you have an informed understanding of the hysterectomy procedure. Always select a well-qualified, board-certified gynecologic surgeon to perform your hysterectomy to minimize your risk of potential complications.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to discuss a hysterectomy with Dr. Haverland in a consultation, please contact Highland Gynecology today.