Hysterectomy: what is it?

Hysterectomy what is it

In France, approximately 62,000 women undergo a hysterectomy each year. This surgical act consists of removing theuterus, partially or completely depending on the case. Hysterectomy, like all names of surgical procedures ending in “ectomy”, refers to a ablation – here, that of the uterus.

Hysterectomy is partial (or subtotal) when only the body of the uterus is removed. It is total when we remove with it the cervix. The ablation may also concern the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, and in some cases the upper third of the vagina and lymph nodes. This is called radical hysterectomy, or hysterectomy with annexectomy.

If the uterus is not a vital organ, its removal has serious consequences. The most obvious consequence is the sterility, but hysterectomy can have other side effects, such as premature menopause, or “surgical menopause”. When the ablation also involves the ovaries, the body experiences a drastic drop in the rate ofhormones sexual intercourse and the symptoms of menopause come on suddenly.

What are the indications for a hysterectomy?

Because of such serious consequences and the psychological consequences they can have, hysterectomy is only indicated as a last resort in the case of pathologies benign or malignant uterines.

In 2018, 70% of hysterectomies performed in France were for benign pathologies. These include benign tumors, endometriosis, genital prolapse, fibroids or menorrhagia. All these pathologies, although benign, can cause pains that affect the quality of life.

Hysterectomy is a radical solution offered when other treatments have failed, to patients who do not want or more children. It can also be recommended in the treatment of cancers : that of cervix, ovaries orendometrium.

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