Hysterectomy, the removal of a woman's uterus, is one of the most
common surgical procedures performed on women in this country.
Nearly 40% of women in the United States will have a
hysterectomy during the course of their lifetimes. Hysterectomies
are frequently performed for fibroids, abnormal bleeding,
endometriosis, cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions, or pelvic
The decision to have a hysterectomy should not be undertaken
lightly. Often the decision is made only after trying a number of
different treatments to correct the underlying problem. Sometimes
hysterectomy is the only reasonable option to treat a medical
condition. As physicians we are very mindful of individual attitudes
about hysterectomy and try to help you reach the best decision for
you at your stage of life.
Women frequently ask about the necessity of taking out ovaries or
fallopian tubes at the time of hysterectomy. In general we
recommend that women under 40 keep their ovaries, women over
45 have their ovaries taken out, and that women whose ages are
in-between make the decision for them selves. The reason for this
is to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. While fewer than 2 women
in 300 will get ovarian cancer, it is a difficult to detect, rapidly
growing cancer that is difficult to cure. Recent research has
indicated that fallopian tubes may actually hold reservoirs of
pre-cancerous cells. If true it would mean that we should
encourage women to have their tubes removed but not their
ovaries. We are keeping a close eye on this research to see how it
will affect the way we counsel patients.
Women also need to decide whether to remove their cervix at the
same time they have their uterus removed. This will depend on
your individual circumstance and should be discussed with your
Hysterectomies can be performed as open abdominal procedures,
vaginal procedures, or laparoscopic procedures either with or
without the use of the Da Vinci robot. With recent advances in
surgical techniques, we are able to perform over 90% of our
hysterectomies laparoscopically , enabling our patients to have
less pain, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recoveries.
For more information about hysterectomy, please see the
individual condition as listed above, information about robotic
surgery, or the HysterSisters website.