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What Are the Risks Of Having a Hysterectomy?

Before we discuss the risks of a hysterectomy, it's necessary that we understand what a hysterectomy actually is. A hysterectomy is the surgical procedure a woman undergoes for to remove her uterus and/or womb. So what are the risks behind having this surgical procedure?

When you're contemplating or needing a hysterectomy, the risks and complications that go along with the surgery will depend largely on what type of hysterectomy you undergo. There are three ways a hysterectomy will take place. Depending on the type of problem that has been diagnosed, the doctor will advise the patient which procedure is safest.

So what are the three procedures?

Three Types of Hysterectomy Procedures

Abdominal hysterectomy – Surgeon makes incision in the stomach area to remove uterus.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy – small multiple incisions on the stomach where a camera (laparoscope) is placed into the woman's belly button. Uterus will be ground up and removed through the small incisions. It can also be removed in one piece through the woman's vagina.
Vaginal hysterectomy – An incision is made in the vagina so that the uterus can be removed as a whole through the vagina.

Five Risks and/or Complications That Come With a Hysterectomy

There are many risks and complications that can arise from a hysterectomy. It's vitally important that, if you were to undergo this surgical process, you are educated on those risks and complications. Here are five commonly known risks and complications that can occur with a hysterectomy.

Bleeding – Any surgery you undergo has a risk of excessive bleeding. A hysterectomy is no exception. If the bleeding becomes too serious, you may need a blood transfusion or need a second procedure to stop the bleeding.

Blood Clots – Most pelvic surgeries have an increased chance of blood clots that can travel to a woman's lungs or to her legs. Once the surgery is completed, patients are often given a minute dose of blood thinner, or else are given special stockings that will be worn on the legs so that no blood clots will form. If a woman does get a blood clot, she'll be given blood thinners for up to six months after the surgery.

Damage to Other Pelvic Organs - Keep in mind that a woman's uterus is close to many organs, and it's quite possible that these organs can become accidentally damaged while the hysterectomy is taking place. This is especially true if the surgery is taking place because of fibroids or adhesions. While damage to other bodily organs is rare, it's a possibility.

For instance, the urine tubs can be damaged during the hysterectomy because they lie in close proximity to the uterus. However, if the damage is caught early, it can be repaired.

The bladder has a chance of being damaged as well, but it can be repaired with few additional complications. A Foley catheter will need to stay in place for about a week.

A bowel that has been damaged can be repaired, especially if the damage is caught during the initial surgery. In rare instances, a temporary colostomy is needed.

Early Menopause – When a woman has a hysterectomy that leaves her ovaries behind, she'll tend to go into menopause approximately four years before she initially would have.

Infection – It's not uncommon for infections to occur after a hysterectomy. Infections can occur in the following places:

  • Bladder
  • Incision
  • Inside abdomen
  • Vagina

In rare cases, an infection begins to abscess. An abscess is bacteria and pus that will need to be drained.

Nine Questions That You Should Inquire about the Hysterectomy Risks and Complications

Before you agree to any surgery, including a hysterectomy, it's important to learn about the procedure and about your doctor. Here are nine questions you should ask.

  • What are the complications based on the procedure chosen?
  • Which of the three procedures has the least amounts of complications?
  • Which procedure does the doctor recommend?
  • How many hysterectomies as the doctor done?
  • What percentage of those surgeries has had complications?
  • What antibiotics does the doctor recommend and how?
  • Will your ovaries be removed?
  • Will there be additional tests before the procedure to detect possible complications?
  • Can you reduce your chances of complications?


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