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Abdominal hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus, and usually the cervix, through a cut (incision) in the lower belly. The ovaries and fallopian tubes also may be removed.
The doctor may do the surgery through a side-to-side (horizontal) incision called a "bikini cut" at the pubic hairline. Or the incision may be up and down (vertical) between the belly button and the pubic bone. Either type of incision leaves a scar that usually fades with time.
After the surgery, you will no longer have periods or be able to get pregnant. Your doctor may recommend that you take hormones if your ovaries were removed. Your doctor will talk to you about the risks and benefits of hormones and how long to take them.
A hysterectomy probably will not lower your interest in sex. In fact, some women enjoy sex more when they no longer have to worry about birth control or heavy bleeding.
Most women go home in 1 to 2 days. You will likely feel better each day. But you may need about 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: May 14, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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