By Jessie Knadler
You didn't see it coming. You didn't even feel it land — until a split second
later when you suddenly realize you've had the wind knocked out of you. What
just hit you? Someone's nasty comment, and it's cut you to the core.
Sometimes a faultfinder disguises her disapproval as a quasi-compliment:
"I would have never had the courage to talk to my boss the way you
did." Other times, a jab takes the form of a cautionary tale: "You're
going on a cruise? I still get nightmares...
Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a surgeon may choose to remove all or only part of the uterus. Patients and health care providers sometimes use these terms inexactly, so it is important to clarify if the cervix and/or ovaries are removed:
In a supracervial or subtotal hysterectomy, a surgeon removes only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in place.
A total hysterectomy removes the whole uterus and cervix.
In a radical hysterectomy, a surgeon removes the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina. Radical hysterectomy is generally only done when cancer is present.
The ovaries may also be removed -- a procedure called oophorectomy -- or may be left in place.
Surgical Techniques for Hysterectomy
Surgeons use different approaches for hysterectomy, depending on the surgeon’s experience, the reason for the hysterectomy, and a woman's overall health. The hysterectomy technique will partly determine healing time and the kind of scar, if any, that remains after the operation.
There are two approaches to surgery – a traditional or open surgery and surgery using a minimally invasive procedure or MIP.
Open Surgery Hysterectomy
An abdominal hysterectomy is an open surgery. This is the most common approach to hysterectomy, accounting for about 65% of all procedures.
To perform an abdominal hysterectomy, a surgeon makes a 5- to 7-inch incision, either up-and-down or side-to-side, across the belly. The surgeon then removes the uterus through this incision.
On average, a woman spends more than three days in the hospital following an abdominal hysterectomy. There is also, after healing, a visible scar at the location of the incision.