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What is a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy?

A total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) is the surgical removal of the uterus and cervix through an incision in the abdomen. The procedure is recommended over other types of hysterectomy if your uterus is large or to check for signs of disease in other pelvic organs.

Indications for Total Abdominal Hysterectomy

Total abdominal hysterectomy is performed to treat conditions such as abnormal menstrual periods, chronic pelvic pain, fibroids, and endometriosis, or as a part of cancer treatment. You should clearly understand the reason for this surgery.

Alternatives to Total Abdominal Hysterectomy

There are other conservative interventions which may be appropriate for your condition. For heavy periods your doctor may prescribe oral medications, an intrauterine device (IUD), or may remove your uterine lining. Depending on the position and size of the fibroids, they can be treated either with medication or removed with surgery.

Total Abdominal Hysterectomy Procedure

The procedure is done under general anesthesia and lasts about one to two hours. An incision is made in your lower abdomen and your uterus and cervix are removed. The incision may be made along the bikini line or midline, which starts in the middle of the abdomen and extends below the navel region towards the pubic bone. Many factors determine the type of incision being made, including the reason for your hysterectomy, the size of your uterus, and if you have any scars from previous abdominal surgeries.

What can be expected During the Recovery Period?

You will be in the recovery room when you wake up from anesthesia. You may feel sleepy for a few hours. Your doctor will monitor you and will prescribe medicine for pain and to prevent an infection.

You may have some vaginal discharge and bleeding for several days after the procedure. You can return to normal activity in about six weeks, but complete recovery may take longer. Walking is encouraged as soon as possible after the surgery. After the procedure, you will no longer menstruate or be able to conceive.

Risks and Complications of Total Abdominal Hysterectomy

As with any surgical procedure, total abdominal hysterectomy is associated with certain risks and complications which include:

  • Problems due to the anesthesia
  • Injury to the internal organs
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Early onset of menopause

Any specific risks and complications will be discussed prior to the procedure.