Radical hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and parts of the vagina in case of various diseases such as ovarian cancer, cervical carcinoma, uterus cancer, etc. It is primarily indicated for the treatment of cancers such as endometrial cancer and end-stage cervical cancer. It could also involve the removal of the lymph nodes associated with these issues. Radical hysterectomy is an invasive procedure and is performed under anaesthesia.
Alternate Name For Radical Hysterectomy
Surgical removal of uterus or cervix
Cervix, uterus, ovaries, and vagina
How is the Radical Hysterectomy surgery performed?
Radical nephrectomy is performed under sedatives and anesthesia to block the pain and sensation. Surgery could be laparoscopic, vaginal, or open.
- Open surgery:In this surgery, a large cut is made in the abdominal wall to access the location of the cancer. The affected tissues are removed and the incision is closed with stitches. Open surgery is preferred in complex cases or large tumors and also when lymph nodes are to be removed.
- Laparoscopic surgery:This is minimally invasive as a small incision is made in the abdominal wall. The laparoscope (instrument with a small camera) is inserted through the incision to create images for guiding the surgeon to access the target area. The affected tissue is removed through the incision. Advanced robotic surgery is available where robots assist in removing the affected tissue.
- Vaginal surgery:In this method, the location of surgery is accessed through the vagina and no incisions are made outside. The incisions are made in the vagina, the affected tissue is removed, and stitches are placed inside the vagina.
Preparation for Radical Hysterectomy Surgery
- Before undergoing radical hysterectomy, it is crucial to understand if you will undergo open, vaginal, or laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will recommend you to undergo certain blood tests and a pre-anesthesia check-up (PAC) that would also include a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG) along with a physical examination to assess your suitability for the surgery.
- You should eat light food the day before surgery and fast for at least 6-8 hours before the surgery, to avoid complications during the surgery.
- Inform your doctor about all your medications and you could be asked to discontinue blood-thinning medications. Also, you could be prescribed certain medications to calm your nerves.
- You should reach the hospital 2-4 hours before the surgery as you will be kept under observation for some time.
You should continue with your follow-ups as per the schedule for a complication-free recovery. Usually, your surgeon will give a follow-up chart to follow until your incision wounds have healed. In addition, you should take proper rest as recommended by your doctor and do not overexert yourself. Avoid bending and seek help from your family members or friends. You can start returning to your routine activities in a few weeks. However, avoid strenuous exercises such as running or weight lifting for an additional few weeks. Make sure to adhere to the follow-up plan with your surgeon to assess the recovery and the need for any additional interventions.
Risks For Radical Hysterectomy Surgery
Laparoscopic and vaginal surgeries are safer than open surgery. The following risks could be associated with all types of surgeries:
- Bleeding from the incision site or surrounding tissues/organs.
- Incision site infections could occur and you might need antibiotic treatment following the surgery.
In addition, surgery could be associated with the following side effects:
- Damage to adjoining organs such as the uterus and bladder.
- Vaginal dryness
- Recurrent urinary tract infection
- Bowel changes
- Blood clot formation
- Postoperative pneumonia
Recovery From Radical Hysterectomy Surgery
Depending on the type of surgical procedure opted for, you will be transferred to the recovery room after a few hours to a couple of days. Once your vital signs have stabilized, you will be shifted to the hospital room/ward and within a few days, you will be discharged from the hospital.
The recovery will take a few weeks and you can start returning to your normal activities. While you are in recovery mode, avoid heavy-duty work for a few weeks that could stress your body. Getting regular follow-ups per the schedule is also crucial to achieving a complication-free recovery.
Take good care of the incision wounds and keep them clean. Take your medications including painkillers and antibiotics as prescribed. If you experience unexplained pain, excessive vomiting, or any other side effects, seek medical attention.