Which Type Of Hysterectomy Is Right For You?
Do you need a hysterectomy? If so, you may have some stress and uncertainty about the procedure itself, the recovery time, and how your abdomen will look once you've recovered. Much of those issues will depend on what type of surgery you have. There are a few different types of hysterectomies. Some doctors specialize in one kind, while others are skilled in all three. If you aren't thrilled with the type of procedure that your surgeon recommends, it may be worthwhile to get a second opinion. Here are the three primary types of hysterectomy procedures and the pros and cons of each:
Abdominal hysterectomy. This has historically been the most common type of procedure performed. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a sizable incision in the abdomen and opens up the area to get a full view of the uterus. The uterus is then removed through the incision and the wound is sewed up. While abdominal hysterectomies are common, they're often not the preferred choice of many women. They can require months of recovery time and can leave a visible scar.
However, abdominal hysterectomies can also be the least expensive of the three surgery types. Also, if the uterus and the fibroids are sizable, this could be the only option.
Vaginal laparoscope-assisted hysterectomy. With this procedure, a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision and the procedure is done entirely through the vagina. The laparoscope gives the surgeon the visibility he or she will need to perform the procedure. Many surgeons are capable of performing this procedure. However, it can usually only be done if the fibroids and uterus are relatively small.
The benefits of laparoscope-assisted hysterectomies are that they leave very little scarring and the recovery time is only a few weeks. If you qualify for this type of procedure, it could be a good option.
Total laparoscopic hysterectomy. This relatively new procedure isn't performed as commonly as the others, but it is growing in popularity. The entire procedure is done through small incisions in the navel. The surgeon uses a laparoscope to see the fibroids and uterus and cut them down small enough to remove through the incisions. This procedure can be done on nearly any size of fibroids or uterus.
The benefits of total laparoscopic are that there's little to no scarring and you will likely be fully recovered within a few weeks. However, not all surgeons can perform this type of procedure. Also, it's usually the most expensive of the three. That could be an important consideration if you have to shoulder a big portion of the cost.
Before you commit to a procedure, get several opinions. There may be a surgeon, from places like Western Branch Center for Women, in your area who can perform the laparoscopic procedure so you have little scarring and a short recovery.