Preparing for a Hysterectomy

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Knowing that a woman has prepared for a hysterectomy when she is wheeled into the operating room will ease the worry that many have. By becoming an informed patient, much of her anxiety will be lifted.

Some of the terms the gynecologist may have referred to are:

-TAH (Total Abdominal Hysterectomy)
-SAH (Supracervical Abdominal Hysterectomy)
-BSO (Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy)
-TVH (Total Vaginal Hysterectomy)
-LAVH (Laprascopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy)
-LSH (Laprascopic Supracervical Hysterectomy)
-DH (da vinci Hysterectomy)

When large uterine fibroids are present a TAH is usually the best option available. If a woman has had normal pap smears a SAH can often be performed. If there is a remote chance that cancer could be present a TAH is usually done. BSO refers to the removal of both fallopian tubes and both ovaries. If the ovaries appear dormant or diseased they will quite often be removed.

If a woman has a LAVH or LSH the recovery time is shortened as the procedure is much less intrusive. The procedure is guided by a little telescope that projects an image up to a television screen, which in turn assists the whole surgical team.

If cancer is a possibility or present, a relatively new procedure known as the da vinci hysterectomy can be performed. A robot assists the surgeon in a relatively noninvasive procedure where a few small incisions are made in the abdomen and the diseased organs can be removed along with lymph nodes. When cancer is confined to the cervix a total hysterectomy or radical hysterectomy can be performed. In both procedures the uterus and cervix are removed, but in the radical hysterectomy the fallopian tubes, ovaries, upper vagina, and lymph nodes are also removed.

Recovery time for most women is 4-6 weeks. With a LAVH or LSH recovery time can be 2-4 weeks. Each woman is different and needs to listen to their bodies. Rest, water, and positive thoughts are important during recovery.

Surgeons do have differences in opinions and treatment options available. A hysterectomy can be a life changing experience. For some women, they mourn the ability to no longer have children. For others, it becomes a time of excitement as they look forward to "getting their life back." When a woman is bothered with uterine fibroids, her life can be miserable. These tumors that grow in the uterus can cause extensive bleeding and make a woman's life challenging. These growths within the uterine wall very rarely grow into a form of cancer. A woman can feel drained physically and emotionally, partially due to low iron counts in the blood stream.

Looking ahead to the future is important. By not focusing on the past, the whole experience can be very positive. Many women feel after they have had a hysterectomy that they have a whole new leash on life. They become avid exercisers, eat balanced diets and focus on the well-being of themselves and their loved ones.

More about this author: Sara A Broers

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