What is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?

What is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?
By Lisa L. Gardner, MD, gynecologist at USMD Hospital at Fort Worth

Do you think you might need a hysterectomy? Feeling scared or confused? Don't worry. It's actually a very common procedure – and medical advancements have made the hysterectomy much easier on patients than it used to be.

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and its cervix, usually due to medical issues such as uterine fibroids, which can cause pelvic pain and bleeding. The ovaries and tubes may also be removed at the same time.

What is a traditional hysterectomy?

Traditional hysterectomy involves making a 6-7cm incision on a woman's abdomen, leaving her with a significant scar. She'll have to spend three days in the hospital, with a total recovery time of about six weeks. Fortunately, this kind of surgery is rarely necessary now.

What is a laparoscopic hysterectomy?

A Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) offers a much smaller incision and a much shorter recovery. You'll probably be able to go home the next day, and go back at work within two weeks.

LAVH at USMD Hospital at Fort Worth is performed under general anesthesia and only involves three tiny 5mm incisions on the abdomen. The uterus and cervix (and possibly the tubes and ovaries) are then removed vaginally. During the laparoscopy, your surgeon can view the entire abdomen and pelvis to look for any other problems or abnormalities.

You won't have as much pain after this surgery, and you'll need very little pain medication. You'll also have much less scarring with LAVH.

Patients who have certain medical issues, such as large fibroids, previous abdominal surgery or a large uterus, may not be suited for this procedure. Talk to your surgeon about which form of hysterectomy is right for you.

Learn more about hysterectomy options.

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