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Types of Hysterectomies

Clip Number: 9 of 40
Presentation: Women's Health -- Common Conditions, Tests, and Procedures
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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There are three types of hysterectomies your doctor can do. These are called: partial, complete, and radical hysterectomies. The difference between them is how much tissue is removed.
A partial hysterectomy takes out the top part of the uterus and leaves the cervix in place. A complete, hysterectomy takes out the entire uterus and the cervix.
A radical hysterectomy takes out the uterus, the cervix, the lymph nodes, and the support structures around the uterus. Radical hysterectomies are usually done for certain types of cancer. In some women, the ovaries and fallopian tubes will be removed at the same time. This is called a salpingo-oophorectomy.
There are also three different ways to do a hysterectomy: through the abdomen, through the vagina, or through the vagina with the help of the a laparascope.
If the uterus is taken out through an incision in your abdomen, this is called abdominal hysterectomy. If the uterus is removed through the vagina, this is called a vaginal hysterectomy. If this is done with the help of a laparoscope, it is called a laparascopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy. A laparoscope is a long tube that has a light and a video camera on the end of it, and it gets inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. This camera lets your doctor see the organs inside your abdomen.
You and your doctor will decide which way is best for your situation. For example, the abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended for women who are having the following problems:
· Widespread endometriosis
· Ovarian masses
· Chronic pelvic pain
· Very large uterine fibroids
· Previous abdominal surgeries
· Previous pelvic infections
· Cancer.
If your doctor decides that a vaginal hysterectomy is more appropriate for you, there are certain advantages to this kind of hysterectomy. These include: a lower risk of infection and less need for blood transfusions. Also, women often heal more quickly, and can return to their usual activities sooner.
The decision about exactly what type of hysterectomy to have, and how it is done, can depend on many things, including your overall health. You and your doctor should talk about any other diseases or medical conditions you have. If you feel uncomfortable or don't understand something, please ask questions.

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