Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure in American women during their reproductive years. In spite of being a common procedure, Dr. Anna Le and the team at Annandale Ob-Gyn understand that the decision to have a hysterectomy is never easy. They take the time to talk with you about your health and your treatment options, and help you reach the best decision. If you have any concerns about your gynecological health, please call one of their offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or schedule an appointment online.

What health issues may necessitate a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy — surgical removal of a woman’s uterus — is often the best treatment option if you have cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer. You may also need a hysterectomy if you have a severe uterine hemorrhage.
When you have a gynecological condition that’s not cancerous, hysterectomy is only considered after all other treatment options have been tried and have failed to alleviate your symptoms.

Health problems that may be treated with a hysterectomy include:

  • Uterine fibroids – Fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that develop in the wall of your uterus, are the most common reason for a hysterectomy.
  • Endometriosis – Endometriosis develops when tissues that normally line the inside of your uterus grow outside the uterus.
  • Uterine prolapse – Muscles that normally hold the uterus in place can weaken, allowing it to drop down toward the vagina. In severe cases, it prolapses into the vagina.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding – When medication doesn’t stop heavy bleeding, the next line of treatment is surgery to remove the uterine lining or a hysterectomy.
  • Adenomyosis – This is a condition where tissues that normally line the inside of the uterus begin to grow within the uterine wall.

What are the different types of hysterectomies?

Following a comprehensive examination, your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care can discuss the types of hysterectomies and which one may be best for your underlying condition:

  • Total hysterectomy: entire uterus is removed, including the cervix
  • Partial hysterectomy: upper part of the uterus is removed, leaving the cervix in place
  • Radical hysterectomy: all of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and possibly the upper part of the vagina are removed; usually to treat cancer
  • During any type of hysterectomy, your ovaries and fallopian tubes may or may not be removed, depending on your individual health needs. When both ovaries are removed, you enter induced menopause.

How is a hysterectomy performed?

The doctors at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care prefer to use minimally-invasive surgical procedures because they cause less trauma and bleeding, less postoperative pain, and recovery is quicker.
The two minimally-invasive hysterectomy procedures are:

  • Vaginal hysterectomy: uterus is removed through a small incision in the vagina
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: uterus is removed using specialized medical devices; only requires several small incisions in the abdomen
  • A third option, called an abdominal hysterectomy, is conventional surgery performed through a single larger incision in the abdomen. An abdominal hysterectomy may be necessary when adhesions are present, if your uterus is very large, or when your doctor also needs to evaluate your pelvic organs.