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What are potential complications of a hysterectomy?

Dr. Hugo D. Ribot, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

A hysterectomy is the removal of only the uterus (with or without the cervix).

As one can read by going to this timely editorial in the current issue of the flagship journal of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it can be a matter of significantly affecting one's mortality risk if removal of the ovaries—especially without subsequent estrogen replacement—is performed.  Not to mention causing hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, poor sleep, as well as a loss of libido.

Dr. John C. Lipman, MD
Vascular & Interventional Radiologist

Hysterectomy is often performed for a cancer of the female reproductive tract (exs. cancer of the uterus, ovaries) but it does not lead to cancer.

Potential complications include:

  • blood clots in the veins or lungs
  • infection
  • bleeding during or after surgery, which may require a transfusion
  • bowel injury or blockage
  • injury to the bladder, ureter, urinary tract or nearby organs
  • problems related to anesthesia
  • death (extremely rare)

Note that generally speaking, abdominal hysterectomy requires a longer recovery period than does laparoscopic or transvaginal hysterectomy.

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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.