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Cervical Cancer and Hysterectomy—Open Surgery

Written by sshowalter, FoundHealth.

Hysterectomy is the surgical term for the removal of the uterus (womb). This results in the inability to become pregnant. The surgery may be done through the abdomen or the vagina. This is a common surgery in the United States.

This type of surgery can be:

  • Partial or subtotal hysterectomy—removal of the uterus (without removing the cervix)
  • Total, complete, or simple hysterectomy—removal of the uterus and cervix (the opening of the uterus leading to the vagina)
  • Radical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper part of the vagina, and the pelvic lymph nodes
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy —removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (may be combined with any of the above procedures)

Effect of Hysterectomy—Open Surgery on Cervical Cancer

You may have a hysterectomy if your uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. One common reason for having a hysterectomy is to treat cervical cancer.

Explore your options before having a hysterectomy as it is a major surgical procedure that is difficult to undergo. It should be used after other treatments have proven ineffective, and/or the cancer has spread.

Read more details about Hysterectomy—Open Surgery.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Injured pelvic organs (bowel and/or bladder)
  • Urinary incontinence (problems controlling your urine)
  • Loss of ovarian function and early menopause
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Previous pelvic surgery or serious infection
  • Use of prescription and nonprescription drugs during the past month

Be sure to discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, leakage, or any discharge from the incision site
  • Incision opens up
  • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
  • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
  • Swelling, redness, or pain in your leg

In case of an emergency, CALL 911.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Injured pelvic organs (bowel and/or bladder)
  • Urinary incontinence (problems controlling your urine)
  • Loss of ovarian function and early menopause
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Previous pelvic surgery or serious infection
  • Use of prescription and nonprescription drugs during the past month

Be sure to discuss the risks with your doctor before surgery.

Reasons for Procedure

You may have a hysterectomy if your uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. Some reasons a woman may have a hysterectomy are to:

  • Treat cancers such as uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancers
  • Remove uterine fibroids —common, benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in the muscle of the uterus
  • Treat chronic pelvic pain
  • Treat heavy bleeding

Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.

What to Expect

To read more on what to expect, visit our main Hysterectomy-Open Surgery page.

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