About 300,000 women in the United States undergo a hysterectomy each year, making it one of the most common surgeries. That said, every surgery is unique, and there’s nothing common about the care that we provide when performing this important surgery.
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Otero and our team have considerable experience performing hysterectomies, and we use the latest surgical techniques available.
In the following, we explore the three different ways we can approach a hysterectomy. Of course, when it comes time to decide which one is best for your situation, this is something that we can discuss. This information is only meant as informational guidelines.
Before we get into the ways we can remove your uterus, it’s important to understand the many factors that influence our decision-making. Typically, we choose the route of the hysterectomy based on a number of considerations, which include:
- Whether it’s for benign disease or cancer
- Whether we’re removing just the uterus or other organs, such as the ovaries
- Accessibility of the uterus
- Size and shape of the vagina
- The extent of the problem outside your uterus, such as endometrial implants
As you can see, there’s a lot that we need to consider before recommending an approach.
The three hysterectomy options
Once we get a clearer picture of what we need to accomplish during a hysterectomy, we then recommend one of the following three:
1. Vaginal hysterectomy
With a vaginal hysterectomy, we don’t need to make any incisions to remove your uterus as we go in through your vagina. As you can imagine, this approach is the path of least resistance and offers the shortest recovery time of the options.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has weighed in and called the vaginal hysterectomy, the “approach of choice whenever feasible,” when it comes to a hysterectomy for benign disease. Of course, we agree, and use this approach whenever possible.
2. Laparoscopic hysterectomy
If a vaginal hysterectomy isn’t feasible, the next best option is a laparoscopic hysterectomy. During this minimally invasive surgery, we only make very small incisions in your abdomen, through which we thread a small camera and specialized instruments.
The primary difference between a laparoscopic hysterectomy and a vaginal one are the small incisions that we make to access your uterus. While small, the incisions require extra healing time.
3. Open hysterectomy
If we need full visual and manual access to the surgical site, we turn to the traditional open hysterectomy. As the name implies, we make a large incision across your lower abdomen, which requires far more recovery time than the two options above.
Open hysterectomies are often reserved for addressing cancer and the need for a radical hysterectomy, a procedure in which your uterus, cervix, the upper part of your vagina, and surrounding tissues are removed.
Again, this information is only meant to educate you on the ways we can perform a hysterectomy. When it comes time to decide which approach is best for you, we conduct a thorough evaluation and make the decision together.
If you have more questions about hysterectomies, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule an appointment.