Removal of the uterus is called a hysterectomy. There are various indications for a hysterectomy, and I'm going to outline the different types of hysterectomies. In 2010, it was estimated that 600,000 women per year were getting a hysterectomy. At this rate, 40% of all USA women over age 45 would be in Surgical Menopause. This is a relevant discussion that affects many women.
In a 2004 study by the Hysterectomy Education and Resource Services wherein a second opinion and counseling were sought before hysterectomy, 98% if the hysterectomies were determined to be unnecessary.
Today, a hysterectomy can be performed by one of three methods: 'open', 'laparoscopic', or 'vaginal'. With the open hysterectomy, a large surgical incision is made in the lower abdomen and the surgeon can openly visualize the pelvic floor. In the laparoscopic method, carbon dioxide gas is infused through the abdomen and small slits are cut instead of a large incision. The uterus can be pulled out of the vagina. In a vaginal hysterectomy, the entire procedure is done through the vagina.
Additionally, there are three approaches to hysterectomy with respect to what structures are removed. In the Total Hysterectomy, the uterus and cervix are removed. In the Partial or Subtotal Hysterectomy, the upper cervix is not removed. In the Radical Hysterectomy, usually performed for cancer, the following structures are removed: uterus, cervix, upper vagina, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and surrounding adnexal tissue.
Removal of the ovaries is called an oophorectomy. If both the ovaries, adnexae and both Fallopian tubes are removed, it is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, or BSO. Therefore, if the uterus and a BSO occurs, it is called a total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (TAH-BSO).
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There are many blogs to help with information and education about hysterectomies. For example, you can visit The Hysterectomy Information Blog, the H Word, or Hysterectomy procedures and aftereffects.