This operation is commonly performed for abnormal uterine bleeding, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and cancer.
There are several ways to perform a hysterectomy: vaginal, abdominal or laparoscopic. The vaginal route avoids the need for an incision on the abdomen, but it is not always feasible to perform the operation this way. The laparoscopic option is associated with a quicker recovery and less post-operative discomfort. One type of laparoscopic hysterectomy, the laparoscopic sub-total hysterectomy (LASH) has the advantage of being a purely keyhole operation, but requires the cervix to be retained. Therefore cervical smears are still required.
The risks of hysterectomy procedure include the general surgical ones of infection, deep vein thrombosis or bleeding. More specifically, as the bladder is close to the womb, it may be damaged during the operation. However, such damage can be repaired and it is rare to have long-term problem from such a complication. There is a 15% chance of suffering a premature menopause after a hysterectomy as the blood supply to the ovaries can be affected even if they are retained at the time of surgery.