What is a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus (womb) through keyhole incisions.
Types of laparoscopic hysterectomy
- total hysterectomy - when body of the uterus and cervix (neck of the womb) are removed.
- subtotal hysterectomy - when 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 the patient before the operation.
Sometimes ovaries and tubes are removed at the same time; this is called a salpingo-oophorectomy.
Conditions leading to hysterectomy
Common reasons why a woman might be advised to have hysterectomy include:
- uterine fibroids
- period problems, such as heavy or painful periods.
- severe endometriosis
- suspected cancer of the womb or cervix
What does the operation involve?
The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic through 3-4 keyhole incisions (cuts) that are 0.5 to 1 cm long. Special surgical instruments are used to remove the womb from the ligaments that hold it in place and a morcellator is used to enable the uterus to be removed through a 10mm incision. The operation normally takes around an hour to complete.
What is recovery after surgery like?
Most women stay in hospital for 24-48 hours after surgery. Usually, on the first morning after the operation the catheter is removed and the patient is able to eat, drink and move around.
Recovery after surgery varies between individuals. Most women will resume driving and work within 2-4 weeks. The body will be using extra energy to build new cells and repair itself and patients may therefore feel tired for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
For more information about recovering from the operation, and what to expect on going home, read our information leaflet: Laparoscopic hysterectomy