There are a half-dozen reasons why women undergo hysterectomies, usually after having tried less intrusive medical courses of action. (1) These include cancer of the cervix, ovaries or uterus; uterine fibroids; abnormal vaginal bleeding; chronic pain; and a thickening or drooping of the uterus.
Partial vs. Full
Each one of these conditions dictates whether or not the doctor will decide to remove all or part of the uterus. For example, the spread of cancer could determine whether there is a need for a total hysterectomy (cervix, uterus) or sub-total or supracervial one (upper portion of the uterus only). The same sort of individual operational logic will guide whether or not any ovaries are also removed.
Some advanced cancer patients require a radical hysterectomy. In this scenario, the whole uterus is taken out along with the tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top portion of the vagina. There may even also be a removal of both ovaries, a procedure that is also known as an oopherectomy.
As a sign of just how far the hysterectomy world has come, some hospitals now hold open houses during which regular citizens are permitted to experiment with precision surgery instruments.(2) The $2 million Da Vinci Surgical Robot System, which is used for hysterectomies, prostate operations, and kidney procedures, can literally almost transform anyone off the street into a capable performer of these procedures.
These robotic wonders also allow for less patient scarring, fewer complications during the operation, and a quicker recovery time. Certainly, these robots are one way to avoid some of the horrible human errors that can occur as part of a hysterectomy operation. For example, in July 2011, one 42-year-old woman in Australia discovered that the six days of post-op pain were due to a knife having been accidentally dropped into her body and left behind. She will no doubt be successful in the litigation that she plans to bring against the responsible hospital.
(1) WebMD – Hysterectomy, Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://women.webmd.com/guide/hysterectomy
(2) WETM TV – “Guthrie’s Surgical Robot: Saving One Life at a Time”, July 19, 2011, Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.wetmtv.com/news/local/story/Guthries-Surgical-Robot-Saving-one-Life-at-a-Time/rnWQyF3u3ky5mcCjhLomsg.cspx
(3) Herald Sun – “Agony After Operation Knife ‘Left In’ During Hysterectomy Surgery, July 14, 2011, Retrieved July 21, 2011 from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/agony-after-op-knife-left-in/story-fn7x8me2-1226094161000