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Hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus. In the great majority of cases the ovaries are not removed. 

The most common indication for a Hysterectomy is heavy and/or painful periods (menorrhagia) in those women who have finished their families.

After a Hysterectomy a woman has no further periods.

There are a number of myths regarding Hysterectomy that need to be dispelled;

  • Women do not put on excessive weight
  • Libido (sex drive) does not decrease
  • Sexual function generally improves
  • Women do not grow facial hair

The age of menopause, which in New Zealand is around 51.5 years, possibly reduces by an average of 18 months to 50 years after a Hysterectomy.

For women with heavy and/or painful periods who have not responded to other treatment options Hysterectomy is an effective procedure, with high patient satisfaction.

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that can be performed Vaginally, Abdominally or Laparoscopically (information on these procedures noted below).

To find the answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding Hysterectomies - click here.


Vaginal Hysterectomy

Vaginal Hysterectomy is performed in women with a normal sized uterus which is relatively mobile who have heavy periods or symptoms of prolapse.  A pelvic floor repair to further manage prolapse symptoms can be performed at the same time.

The procedure takes approximately 1 hour  (1.5 hours if pelvic flour repair performed as well) and hospital stay is 2-3 days. Women return to work on average after three weeks.

Abdominal Hysterectomy

 An Abdominal Hysterectomy is removal of the uterus through a horizontal skin incision in the abdomen (with conservation of the ovaries) and is performed in women with large fibroid uteri. A fibroid uterus that requires an Abdominal Hysterectomy is usually significantly enlarged and can be felt through the abdominal wall.

Symptoms of fibroids can include:

  • Heavy and painful periods
  •  Abdominal mass
  •  Pressure symptoms in the bladder (passing urine frequently) and bowel (constipation)
  •  Abdominal pain

This procedure takes 1-2 hours and is a little more uncomfortable than a laparoscopic or vaginal procedure but for those women who require an Abdominal Hysterectormy it is very effective.  The hospital stay is 4-5 days and women return to work after 4-6 weeks.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is apporpriate for women with heavy and/or painful periods who have not responded to other treatment options.  Laparoscopic Hysterectomy is an effective procedure, with high patient satisfaction.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy involves inserting a laparoscope (telescope) through the tummy button (umbilicus). The abdomen is distended with gas and three small incisions are made in the lower abdomen. The uterus is freed up and removed. 

If women have pain related to endometriosis, this can be excised at the same time.

This procedure takes approximately 2 hours and the average hospital stay is 1-2 days. Women return to work on average after 2-4 weeks.

To view a video clip of a uterus being removed laparoscopically as well as before and after images - click here.