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What should I do if I am told that I need a hysterectomy?

Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
When I speak to patients about having a hysterectomy, I like to give patients an option and explain to them the conservative approaches versus medical management versus surgical approaches to their problem. If after this discussion the patient believes that a hysterectomy is the option that best fits her needs, the patient should feel comfortable enough with her doctor to ask about the risks and benefits of the surgical procedure. When I discuss a hysterectomy with a patient, I always go through the risks and benefits as well as the alternatives to a hysterectomy. My belief is that educating a patient about her problem and her options to resolve her problem will enable her to better ask me questions. Some patients feel a need to obtain a second opinion, and I never have a problem if a patient desires a second opinion. Lastly, I believe that a patient should feel very comfortable with their decision as well as with their doctor prior to going into a surgical procedure. If they do not feel comfortable with both, they should reconsider their decision.

You should do the following:

Ask about the possible risks of the surgery. Talk to your doctor about other treatment options. Ask about the risks of those treatments. Consider getting a second opinion from another doctor.

Keep in mind that every woman is different and every situation is different. A good treatment choice for one woman may not be good for another.

This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If your doctor suggests a hysterectomy, ask why this is recommended, which type of hysterectomy he proposes, and the pros and cons of each. Here are the different types: 

- Partial -- removal of the uterus, keeping the cervix;

- Total -- removal of the entire uterus and cervix;

- Radical -- removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes;

- Abdominal -- removal of the uterus through an incision on the lower abdomen;

- Vaginal -- removal of the uterus through the vagina;

- Laparoscopic (keyhole surgery) -- the uterus is visualized using a flexible lighted microscope (laparoscope) threaded through the belly button while other instruments inserted into a few small incisions removes the uterus.

Also be sure to ask if there are any alternatives to surgery, such as watchful waiting. For instance, if fibroids are the issue, these will shrink during menopause.

A second opinion is a good idea, particularly whenever surgery that cannot be reversed is recommended. Being an informed patient can help you to avoid unnecessary surgery.


This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.