You may need a hysterectomy for any one of several conditions. Large or symptomatic uterine fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the walls of your uterus) are the most common reason for a hysterectomy. Others include endometriosis, uterine prolapse, gynecologic cancer, persistent abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding, or chronic pelvic pain. One or both of your ovaries and fallopian tubes also may be removed during a hysterectomy. If you haven't yet reached menopause, a hysterectomy will stop monthly periods and prevent pregnancy.
Depending on your condition, your treatment team may recommend either an open or a minimally invasive procedure to detach your uterus from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper vagina and connecting blood vessels. The lower part of the uterus, the cervix, may be left in place (partial hysterectomy) or removed completely.
A complete hysterectomy is the most common type of abdominal hysterectomy. Your surgeon performs this procedure by making an incision in your lower abdomen. Complete recovery time is four to eight weeks.
For certain conditions, your treatment team may recommend minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Recovery time is generally shorter than for open surgery. You're likely to be able to return to normal activity, with only minor restrictions, in a week or two.