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Surgical Procedures: Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of part or the entire uterus. A partial hysterectomy is a procedure in which the upper part of the uterus is removed but the cervix is left. A total hysterectomy is a procedure in which the entire uterus and cervix is removed. Finally, a radical hysterectomy is a procedure in which the entire uterus and support structure around the uterus are removed.
A hysterectomy is used treat fibroids, endometriosis, pelvis support problems, uterine bleeding, cancer, and chronic pelvic pain. There are several ways in which a hysterectomy is performed.

A vaginal hysterectomy is one in which the surgery is done through the vagina, and may have a shorter recovery period.

An abdominal hysterectomy is one in which an incision is made in the lower abdomen to reach the uterus. This approach to the procedure may have longer recovery time but can sometimes gives the surgeon a better view if large tumors or cancer is present.

Finally, a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy is done when a vaginal hysterectomy is not achieved as easily. The laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. The laparoscope will allow the surgeon to see the uterus, pelvis, organs, etc on a monitor while performing surgery. In this type of hysterectomy the uterus is still removed through the vagina.

Although this procedure is a major surgery, it is an extremely common procedure for women. (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006)

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