Partial Hysterectomy or Total Hysterectomy, Ask Questions In general, a hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the uterus. This procedure may be performed as a result of several conditions or illnesses that sometimes invade a woman’s reproductive system. Based on the organs removed during the surgery, hysterectomies are put into one of three categories. During a radical hysterectomy doctors remove the uterus and supporting structures, the cervix (lower portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina), ovaries and in some cases the lymph nodes. This procedure may be necessary when cancer has spread throughout the reproductive system. The name total hysterectomy can be misleading. This surgery does not remove the total reproductive system. The ovaries are left intact and the uterus and the cervix are taken out. The third type of this surgery is known by several names: subtotal, supracervical and partial hysterectomy. This procedure is done when only the uterus is affected. Deciding on a particular type can sometimes be difficult for a patient. When the condition dictating the surgery can be treated with a total or partial hysterectomy there is no definitive evidence that recommends one over the other. Here are questions you might want to ask your doctor before making a decision to have a particular type of surgery. • In most cases, what hysterectomy is performed on women in your condition? • What organs have been compromised by your condition? • What are the risks of each procedure? • How does recovery from one procedure to the other compare? In addition to asking these questions, you may want to do more research on your owe. Ask for pamphlets, do some research online and seek out women who have had the operations you are considering. Of course, the amount of time you will have to arrive at a decision will depend on your condition. These procedures are sometimes done in emergency situations.
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