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Hysterectomy - Risks of Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy poses some risks of major and minor complications. But most women do not have complications after a hysterectomy.

Some studies have shown complication rates that are about the same for total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH), laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH), and total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH).3, 4 Your risk of problems after surgery may be higher or lower than average. This may depend in part on how experienced the surgeon is.

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Complications

Complications after a hysterectomy include:

  • Heavy blood loss.
  • Bladder or bowel injury.
  • Blood clot to the lung.
  • Infection.

Infection risk is lowest when your doctor gives you antibiotic medicine at the time of surgery.5

Other ongoing complications of hysterectomy include:

  • Difficulty urinating. This is more common after removal of lymph nodes, ovaries, and structures that support the uterus (radical hysterectomy).
  • Weakness of the pelvic muscles and ligaments that support the vagina, bladder, and rectum. Kegel exercises may help strengthen the pelvic muscles and ligaments. But some women need other treatments, including additional surgery.
  • Continued heavy bleeding. Some vaginal bleeding within 4 to 6 weeks following a hysterectomy is expected. But call your doctor if bleeding continues to be heavy.
  • Some women may experience early menopause.
  • The formation of scar tissue (adhesions) in the pelvic area.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 02, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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