A total hysterectomy is something that many women have experienced, and if you have had this done then you understand just how life altering this surgery can be. There are many different reasons why a physician may recommend that you have this procedure performed, and in some cases there are alternatives which you may or may not have information about.
When it comes to hysterectomy there are many different types, and this surgery can be performed using many different methods and techniques. These can include:
A total hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus and the cervix are removed, but the ovaries and fallopian tubes are left intact so that hormone production is not severely disrupted. This surgery can be performed using one of several methods, and is used for a variety of medical conditions and problems.
No matter what type of procedure is used, whether you have a total, radical, or complete hysterectomy you will not be able to have children after you have undergone this type of surgery. For every one thousand women three will have a hysterectomy at some point in their lives, and sometimes this surgery is not always necessary and other treatments may work just as well.
Studies have shown that some women have had a total hysterectomy because there was a lack of alternative treatments known to the physician, and the biggest reasons for this type of surgery in the USA are uterine fibroids and excessive uterine bleeding. Other reasons why a hysterectomy may be advised is due to certain types of female reproductive cancer, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, chronic pelvic pain which can not be identified, and a few other medical conditions.
The word complete or total simply refers to the fact that the cervix is not left behind, which is what happens during a partial hysterectomy. The surgery may be performed by making an incision in the abdomen, by accessing and removing the uterus through the vaginal canal, or by using laparoscopic equipment which only requires small incisions which heal much faster and are far less invasive.
A total abdominal hysterectomy is the most common technique performed in the United States, and this surgery is the most invasive and takes the longest time to recover from. A large incision is cut into your lower abdomen, and this incision is then used by the surgeon to remove your uterus and cervix from your pelvis.
In some cases this type of total hysterectomy surgery is necessary because the abdominal interior needs to be examined. If you have had cancer, or have any suspected growths, then this method will allow the surgeon to view the inside of your abdomen and rule out any further problems.
Large uterine fibroids may be removed using this method, especially if their size means using laparoscopic methods or vaginal removal is not an option. With women who have never had children the vaginal canal may not be large enough to allow the uterus to be removed in this way, and that can be another reason why abdominal surgery is preferred.
This type of surgery should only be done for severe chronic pelvic pain if every possible diagnostic effort has been made and the cause of the pain can not be identified any other way. In the past some surgeons were quick to perform a total hysterectomy in the belief that if the uterus was removed then there would be no further complaint of pelvic pain.
Thanks to the use of laparoscopic equipment and technology hysterectomy surgery today can be done in a way that is far less invasive than it was in the past, but there are still risks and possible complications that can occur. This technique is not advised if you suffer from unexplained pelvic pain or if there are any suspected growths or tumors in your abdomen, because these will need to be examined using traditional abdominal surgery instead.
In this type of total hysterectomy surgery a laparoscope is used, and this method uses a small flexible tube with a camera that also has surgical cutting and grabbing tools. The equipment is inserted into a small incision, and allows the surgeon to view inside your abdomen and to cut your organs into smaller pieces for removal.
Laparoscopic surgery leaves a much smaller scar, and involves a much faster healing and recovery time than traditional surgery does. This equipment can be used to remove your uterus and cervix through a tiny incision in your abdomen or through your vaginal canal, depending on your specific circumstances and medical conditions.
In this type of surgery your uterus and cervix is removed through your vaginal opening, and it may be used only for certain conditions and if you meet certain requirements. If you suffer from uterine prolapse and your uterus is protruding into your vaginal canal then this method of removal is usually performed.
If the total hysterectomy is performed using the vaginal opening it may or may not involve laparoscopic equipment and techniques. Other medical conditions which usually qualify for this type of procedure include cervical dysplasia and endometrial hyperplasia, because in all of these situations the uterus is not enlarged and will typically fit through the vaginal canal.
A vaginal procedure should not be done if the pelvis and abdomen should be internally examined, or if you can not keep your legs raised up in medical stirrups for an extended time. For the hysterectomy to be performed using this technique your legs must be raised in the stirrups for the entire procedure, and this may not be possible if you suffer from certain other medical conditions.
For many women the alternative options and treatments to a total hysterectomy are not fully explained by the physician or examined, and this can lead to having this surgery when other treatments may work just as well. Before you consider this procedure make sure that it is completely necessary and there are no other options available.
This surgery should only be done if all other treatment options have failed, unless you have a serious medical condition such as uterine or ovarian cancer where time is essential to save your life. If this is not the situation in your case then you should never undergo this type of surgery until you are certain it is the right choice for your circumstances.
Endometriosis may respond to certain medications and alternative treatments, and fibroids may be surgically removed without the loss of your uterus and cervix. Abnormal and excessive uterine bleeding may benefit from uterine balloon therapy instead of surgery to remove the uterus completely.
There may be other options instead of a hysterectomy, and you should always explore them all carefully so that you can make the best decision possible for your specific medical condition. This is a surgery that can have a big impact on your life and future, and should never be allowed without careful consideration and the evaluation of all your treatment choices.
If you suffer from menorrhagia, which is simply the medical term for excessive menstrual bleeding, then you are not alone, It is estimated that between twenty and twenty five percent of the female population have experienced this problem at some time, and there are a number of causes including hormone changes and certain medical conditions.
In the past a total hysterectomy was the only treatment that could be offered if you suffered from excessive bleeding on a regular basis, and this was usually performed after you have finished your childbearing and did not ever intend to become pregnant again. That is no longer the case, because now uterine balloon therapy or UBT can effectively treat menorrhagia without the need for a hysterectomy.
For many women uterine balloon therapy can provide the desired results, but with a recovery time that is much shorter and fewer side effects and complications. The procedure is done on a day surgery basis in many cases, and you can normally go home later that same day.
UBT can treat excessive bleeding in about eighty five percent of women who have this treatment done, and the recovery period is usually days instead of weeks or months. There is no incision or scarring with this therapy, and the hormone production and blood flow to the pelvis are left undisturbed.
When comparing uterine balloon therapy to a total hysterectomy the side effects of each treatment method should be compared. This will help you make the right choice for your treatment needs.
UBT has resulted in nausea or vomiting in a small percentage of women which was mild and temporary, and you can experience cramping which can range from mild to moderate for a day or two after the procedure. One side effect is normally sterility and an inability to have children, because the uterine lining is destroyed so it is not possible to carry a pregnancy to term or usually even conceive.
Side effects of a total hysterectomy can be much more serious. You will usually experience pain for weeks after the surgery, and recovery can take as long as two or three months in some cases.
A hysterectomy will also cause you to lose fertility, and this surgery can disrupt both your hormone levels and the blood flow through your pelvis. This surgery is a major procedure, and can result in many different complications depending on the method involved.
With a hysterectomy you will usually experience some menopause symptoms, even if you retain your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is not normally true if you have uterine balloon therapy.
As the side effect comparison shows, for excessive bleeding uterine balloon therapy is usually a better choice than a total hysterectomy. Fewer side effects, the difference in the length of the hospital stay and recovery times, and the lower costs involved, and the much lower rate of complications all show that UBT is the superior treatment for most women with menorrhagia.
With UBT you can get back to your usual routine in just a few days most of the time, and the surgery is far less invasive so the risk of infection is also much lower. Minor cramping is possible instead of severe post surgical pain that may be intense and last for weeks.
If you suffer from excessive bleeding a hysterectomy is not your only option, there is another treatment available that is just as effective but less invasive, and with less down time and pain involved. Uterine balloon therapy has shown an incredible success rate for this problem since the treatment was approved for use in the USA.
If you experience excessive bleeding and have been advised to have a total hysterectomy to treat this condition then you should always get a second opinion, even if you trust your physician and believe that there is no alternative. A specialist in women's reproductive health, such as Dr. Kenneth DeSandies, is experienced in treating these issues using the most advanced technologies and treatment methods available.
Getting a second opinion by a specialist is important, to make sure you are aware of all your options and that you have the latest information available. Most of the time having uterine balloon therapy is ideal for excessive bleeding, and is typically a much safer and better option.
Many health insurance plans will cover uterine balloon therapy as an alternative to a hysterectomy, and a number will even cover the cost of a second opinion if your physician determines that a hysterectomy is needed. This step should never be skipped if your surgery is not planned for a life threatening condition, to ensure you get the best treatment possible.