What are the risks of having a hysterectomy operation?
Hysterectomy is generally very safe, but with any major surgery comes the risk of complications. Such complications include blood clots, infection, excessive bleeding or an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. The risks of hysterectomy include the risks of any major operation, although its surgical risks are among the lowest of any major operation.
Hysterectomy patients may have a fever during recovery, and some may develop a mild bladder infection or wound infection. If an infection occurs, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Less often, women may require a blood transfusion before surgery because of anemia or during surgery for blood loss. Complications related to anesthesia might also occur, especially for women who smoke, are obese, or have serious heart or lung disease.
As with any major abdominal or pelvic operation, serious complications such as blood clots, severe infection, adhesions, postoperative (after surgery) hemorrhage, bowel obstruction or injury to the urinary tract can happen. Rarely, even death can occur.
In addition to the direct surgical risks, there may be longer-term physical and psychological effects, potentially including depression and loss of sexual pleasure. If the ovaries are removed along with the uterus prior to menopause (change of life), there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease as well. These will be discussed later along with possible treatments.
Other complications sometimes reported after a hysterectomy include changes in sex drive, weight gain, constipation, and pelvic pain. Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause can occur if the ovaries are removed. Women who have both ovaries removed and who do not take estrogen replacement therapy run an increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to be brittle). Women with a history of psychological and emotional problems before the hysterectomy are more likely to experience psychological difficulties after the operation.
More information on hysterectomy
What is a hysterectomy? - A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman's uterus (womb). A total hysterectomy is the most common operation and this means removal of the uterus and cervix.
When is a hysterectomy necessary? - A hysterectomy is nearly always necessary if a diagnosis of cancer of the cervix or cancer of the uterus is made and is usually recommended if there is ovarian cancer.
What are the hysterectomy procedures? - In a total hysterectomy, the uterus and the cervix are removed. This is the most common kind of hysterectomy, usually performed for uterine and cervical cancer.
How will the patient feel after hysterectomy? - The emotional response after a hysterectomy varies depending on the reason for the operation. For some women there is a sensation of loss, Strong painkillers are prescribed for the first few days following surgery.
What are the risks of hysterectomy operation? - Hysterectomy is generally very safe. Such complications of hysterectomy include blood clots, infection, excessive bleeding or an adverse reaction to the anesthesia.
What is abdominal hysterectomy? - The advantages of an abdominal hysterectomy are that the uterus can be removed even if a woman has internal scarring (adhesions) from previous surgery or her fibroids are large.
What is vaginal hysterectomy? - With a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon makes an incision near the top of the vagina. The advantages of hysterectomy are that it leaves no visible scar and is less painful.
What is radical hysterectomy? - Radical hysterectomies are performed on women with cervical cancer or endometrial cancer that has spread to the cervix.
What are the alternatives to hysterectomy? - It is recommended that women consider hysterectomy as a procedure of last resort, when all other treatment options have failed. Other options include medications, endometrial ablation, uterine artery embolization.
Will hysterectomy affect sexuality? - Every person reacts differently, and reactions are a combination of emotional and physical responses. Loss of hormones can cause vaginal dryness and make sex uncomfortable.
Recovery after a hysterectomy - Recovery after a hysterectomy takes time. Increase your activity gradually every day, when you feel capable and aren't in pain.