An open hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus (womb) through abdominal incisions (laparotomy). We consider this procedure for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Uterine fibroids
- Period problems, such as heavy or painful periods
- Severe endometriosis
- Suspected cancer of the womb or cervix
There are two types of open hysterectomy:
- Total Abdominal Hysterectomy (TAH): the body of the uterus and cervix (neck of the womb) are removed
- Subtotal Abdominal Hysterectomy (SAH): the body of the uterus is removed but not the cervix
The type of hysterectomy will depend on individual circumstances and will be thoroughly discussed with you before the operation.
Sometimes ovaries and tubes are removed at the same time; this is called a salpingo-oophorectomy. If only the tube is removed this is called salpingectomy.
The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic through an abdominal incision usually a bikini cut. Special surgical instruments are used to remove the womb from the ligaments that hold it in place and also to tie up the blood supply. The uterus is removed through the incision. The operation normally takes around 60–90 minutes to complete.
Most women stay in hospital for two to three days after surgery. Usually, on the first morning after the operation the catheter is removed and you are able to eat and drink. It may take few days before you can move around.
Recovery after surgery varies between individuals. The body will be using extra energy to build new cells and repair itself and patients may therefore feel tired for eight weeks after surgery. Most women will resume driving after eight weeks.