What is a Hysterectomy? – Complications of a Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the womb or uterus. Although, a hysterectomy is the safest surgery in United States, it has some risks. Less than 10% of hysterectomy patients experience minor or major complications. Risks are higher in the open abdominal approach than with laparoscopic and vaginal abdominal procedures. This is because an open approach is done with patients who have the challenging cases. However, serious complications chances are less.

Presently, three surgical procedures can be used for removing the uterus. The decision to use the procedure depends on the size and also how easily uterus can be removed.


The following are the three types of procedures for removing the uterus.

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy:

    An incision is made in the abdomen for removing uterus.

  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy:

    Small incisions are made on the abdomen.  With a laparoscope, a camera is placed in the belly button. The uterus is ground into tiny pieces and is removed from one of the incisions or the whole uterus is removed through an incision in the vagina.

  • Vaginal Hysterectomy:

    An incision is made in the vagina to remove the uterus.


  • Infection:

    Infections can occur in the vagina, inside the abdomen or bladder, and the incision. Nearly 10% of women suffer from infection after surgery even after using the preventive medications before the surgery. Rarely do infections progress into abscess, a collection of bacteria and pus must be drained.

  • Bleeding:

    Excessive bleeding is one of the risks associated with hysterectomy. It requires blood transfusion products or returns to the operating room if bleeding is severe.

  • Damage to Pelvic Organs:

    Of the uterus is very close to pelvic organs, these can unintentionally be damaged during the surgery, particularly if surgery is due to large fibroids or adhesion. Rarely these organs get damaged, but it can occur. Tubes which carry urine from kidneys to bladder are close to uterus and can be damaged. This can be repaired, if identified early.

  • Blood Clots:

    This increases the risk of blood clotting either in the legs or the lungs. Generally, patients are given blood thinners or special stockings to wear on their legs after the surgery. Females suffering from blood clots should use blood thinners for 3 – 6 months after surgery.

  • Menopause:

    Women who undergo a hysterectomy without the removal of the ovaries experience menopause early.

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