What is vaginal hysterectomy?
With a vaginal hysterectomy, the surgeon makes an incision near the top of the vagina. The surgeon then reaches through this incision to cut and tie off the ligaments, blood vessels, and fallopian tubes. Once the uterus is cut free, it is removed through the vagina. The operation takes one to two hours. The hospital stay is usually one to three days, and return to normal activities takes about four weeks.
During this procedure, the uterus is removed through the vagina. A vaginal hysterectomy is appropriate only for conditions such as uterine prolapse, endometrial hyperplasia, or cervical dysplasia. These are conditions in which the uterus is not too large, and in which the whole abdomen does require examination using a more extensive surgical procedure. The woman will need to have her legs raised up in a stirrup device throughout the procedure. Women who have not had children may not have a large enough vaginal canal for this type of procedure. If a woman has too large a uterus, cannot have her legs raised in the stirrup device for prolonged periods, or has other reasons why the whole upper abdomen must be further examined, the doctor will usually recommend an abdominal hysterectomy (see above). In general, laparoscopic vaginal hysterectomy is more expensive and has higher complication rates than abdominal hysterectomy.
The advantages of this procedure are that it leaves no visible scar and is less painful. The disadvantage is that it is more difficult for the surgeon to see the uterus and surrounding tissue. This makes complications more common. Large fibroids cannot be removed using this technique. It is very difficult to remove the ovaries during a vaginal hysterectomy, so this approach may not be possible if the ovaries are involved.
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.