A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of your uterus or womb. The cervix, or neck of the womb, is usually also removed during this operation.
Laparoscopic surgery is also called keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery. As a highly trained laparoscopic surgeon, I’ve performed many laparoscopic hysterectomies.
A laparoscopic hysterectomy doesn’t require a big cut or incision and means you’ll recover quickly from surgery with less need for pain relief and a faster return to doing all the things you’re used to.
However, a hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure and you’ll need to follow the usual post-operative advice similar to an open hysterectomy.
The ovaries aren’t usually removed if you’re having a hysterectomy to treat a benign or non-cancerous condition. If you haven’t reached menopause, your ovaries still produce female hormones so you won’t need hormone replacement therapy.
The most common reason to recommend the removal of your ovaries is when a hysterectomy is performed for cancer treatment. In this case, you’ll have a salpingo-oophorectomy which means your fallopian tubes are removed along with your ovaries.
In the absence of a known cancerous condition, your ovaries may need to be removed if you are being treated for a benign or non-cancerous condition and you also :
At the time of a hysterectomy for benign or non-cancerous conditions, we recommend removal of both fallopian tubes as this may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in the future. In the absence of the uterus or womb, the fallopian tubes don’t have a function and their removal doesn’t impact on the ability of the ovaries to produce hormones.
You’ll stop having periods if you haven’t reached menopause at the time of your hysterectomy. However, if you keep your ovaries, they’ll continue to produce hormones after the surgery.
Hysterectomy does bring the age of menopause forward by a few months even when you still have your ovaries.
In most cases, women report an improvement in overall quality of life once they’ve recovered from surgery because the symptoms or conditions that led to the surgery disappear. Symptoms include problem periods, fibroids, pelvic pain and, in some cases, gynaecological cancer.
Sexual function is dependent on multiple factors. Most women report an improvement in sexual function once they’ve physically and emotionally recovered from the surgical procedure. We recommend avoiding sexual intercourse for at least 8 weeks following a hysterectomy to allow healing of the pelvic tissues.
In most cases, we recommend some light food on the day of the surgery as soon as you’ve recovered sufficiently from the anaesthetic.
You’re likely to notice some soreness where the cuts were made. It isn’t unusual to experience some pain in your shoulders after the surgery, as a result of a small amount of trapped carbon dioxide under the diaphragm. This gas is absorbed rapidly over the next few hours.
Depending on the extent of your surgery, you’ll go home 2 to 3 days after surgery.
You’ll notice a change in your bowel and bladder habits for a while after surgery.