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Hysterectomy Complications

December 3, 2020

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus or the womb typically to treat cancer, chronic pain (painful periods) or heavy bleeding. In a few cases, a hysterectomy also includes removing other parts such as the tissues of the vagina, the cervix, the fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

Why opt for a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy is done for different reasons, including:

  • Gynaecological cancer (cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries)
  • Uterine prolapse, uterus bulging from the normal position into the vaginal canal
  • Adenomyosis, the thickening of the uterine wall
  • Uterine fibroids, the abnormal growths in or on a woman's uterus which causes pain, bleeding, or other problems
  • Endometriosis is when the tissue lining the uterus (inside) is present on the uterus or other organs (like the ovaries) which causes painful periods
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Chronic pelvic pain

What are the types of Hysterectomy?

The different types of Hysterectomy are:

  • Subtotal Hysterectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the upper part of the uterus. The cervix is untouched and in place throughout.
  • Total Hysterectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the entire uterus and the cervix.
  • Laparoscopic Assisted Hysterectomy: It is a laparoscopy (minimally invasive) assisted hysterectomy where the instruments are inserted via small holes made in the abdomen and vagina.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy: In this procedure, an incision is made in the vagina.
  • Abdominal Hysterectomy: In this procedure, a vertical (from the area of the pubic bone up toward the belly button) or horizontal (along with the bikini line) incision is made in the abdomen.
  • Radical Hysterectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the entire uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the region on top of the vagina. In a few cases, Radical Hysterectomy is followed by Oophorectomy (ovaries are removed) and Salpingectomy (tubes are removed) if the procedure is done to treat any gynaecological cancer.

Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, the healthcare specialist will choose one of the above procedures. You can consult the best gynaecology specialist for more information.

What are the complications of Hysterectomy?

All type of Hysterectomy causes a few complications. The complications can be divided into two:

Physical Complications

Since hysterectomy is a major operation, like any other operation it too has some physical complications that are why the patients are suggested to stay in the hospital for a day or two (less in case of a laparoscopic hysterectomy). Few of the complications are:


All operations including hysterectomy have a small risk of heavy bleeding (haemorrhage). A blood transfusion can help with the haemorrhage.

General anaesthetic

Hysterectomy is performed under general anaesthesia. It is very rare (1 in 10,000), but general anaesthetic (anaesthetics are given) can also lead to a few complications like nerve damage, allergic reaction, and death.

Abnormal vaginal discharge

Bloody vaginal discharge is noticed after a few days or weeks of the operation. This is completely normal and can be tackled by wearing a pad.

Injury to the ureter, bowel, or bladder

The ureter is the tube through which the urine is passed through. A hysterectomy can damage it (1% of cases). Not just ureter, hysterectomy can cause damage to the abdominal organs like bladder or bowel and result in infection and incontinence.


Infections are seen commonly in patients who undergo a hysterectomy. Studies conclude that infection is seen in 6% to 25% of the patients who undergo an abdominal hysterectomy and 4% to 10% who undergo a vaginal hysterectomy. Postoperative febrile infection is observed in 30% of the hysterectomy cases, and approximately 4% undergoing an abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy have a pelvic infection. Studies have revealed that by giving prophylactic antibiotics before an abdominal or vaginal hysterectomy can reduce this rate of wound infection, pelvic cellulitis, and pelvic abscess.


Post operation thrombosis is observed in a few patients. Thrombosis is a condition where blood clots are formed in the vein which interferes with the blood circulation and the flow of oxygen around the body. Post operation, the patient will be asked to stay in the hospital, and medication like anticoagulant and painkillers are given to help with thrombosis or any pain as the body heals.

Ovary failure

Hysterectomy removes the womb therefore eventually one or both the ovaries (left untouched) fail within five years because the blood supply to the ovaries through the womb is cut down.

Emotional Complications

Early menopause:

Hysterectomy can cause menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, sweating, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and insomnia which can be emotionally draining. This happens because the estrogen levels drop after the operation and hence the body stops ovulating (producing eggs).

Other than menopause, the operation brings sadness to a few women since the uterus is a crucial organ for pregnancy and removing it indicated that the chance of being a mother is almost diminished. On the bright side, the patient stops menstruating, therefore, this can be a huge relief to people with bad menstruation experiences like excruciating pain, heavy bleeding, more.