A hysterectomy removes a woman's uterus and cervix. Often, the procedure takes out your fallopian tubes and ovaries, too. We might take out pelvic lymph nodes to see if or where the cancer has spread.
We offer hysterectomies when cancers of the female reproductive system have advanced. Sometimes, surgical removal of an organ can completely cure cancer. Other times, we try surgery in combination with other therapies.
Of course, without a uterus and cervix, you can't get pregnant. Make sure to talk with your care team about your fertility. You'll also want to talk about hormones and sexual health.
Types of Hysterectomy
At UVA, we offer several surgical techniques. We aim to create as little pain and recovery issues as possible.
During open surgery, we cut through your abdomen. This traditional approach allows for direct removal of the organs. Open surgery has advantages, but it also increases your risk of infection, recovery time, and pain.
This type of surgery avoids a big cut. We insert tubes through tiny incisions. We put lights, a camera, and surgical tools through the tube. The camera sends images to a special monitor. This guides our use of the tools. People usually recover and heal faster with this approach vs. open surgery.
With this method, we use robotic arms inside your body. They detach and remove your organs with precision. And we don't have to make a large incision.
We can remove your uterus and cervix through your vagina.
Often, we don't have to cut into you at all. We just pull the uterus and cervix out.
Sometimes we'll need to use a laparoscope to guide the process. We'll insert the small scope through a small cut next to your navel.
In general, we can perform vaginal procedures if you have beginning cancer. If you're in a later stage of cancer, we may only have the option of open surgery.