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A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus (womb). Once the uterus has been removed, your periods will stop and you will no longer be able to get pregnant.
A hysterectomy is carried out to treat a range of health conditions that affect the female reproductive system. This may include fibroids, prolapse of the uterus, pelvic pain, gynaecological cancers and heavy, painful periods that are impacting on a woman’s quality of life.
Depending on the reasons for surgery, you may also have your cervix, ovaries and/or fallopian tubes removed as part of this procedure.
Although many women have a hysterectomy for various reasons, it is a major operation and comes with a long recovery time attached. It can take six to eight weeks to make a full recovery from a hysterectomy.
If your ovaries are removed as part of your hysterectomy, you will go through menopause immediately after the operation, regardless of your age. This is known as a surgical menopause.
A hysterectomy is usually only considered if all other treatment options have not worked, for example surgery to cut away endometrial tissue in the case of endometriosis.
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
There are four different types of hysterectomy. Your surgeon will help decide which one is right for you depending on the nature of your condition.
This surgery involves the complete removal of the uterus (womb) and the cervix, which is the neck of the womb. This is the most commonly performed type of hysterectomy. By removing the cervix as part of this procedure, this means that there is no risk of cervical cancer developing in the future.
In this procedure, the main body of the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place. This means that there is still a risk of cervical cancer and cervical screening tests (smear tests) will still need to be carried out.
Some women prefer a subtotal hysterectomy over a total hysterectomy as they want to be able to maintain their reproductive system as much as possible. Subtotal hysterectomy is a procedure that is not performed very often as surgeons tend to favour a total hysterectomy.
Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy refers to the removal of both (bilateral) fallopian tubes (salpingo) and ovaries (oophorectomy). The uterus and cervix are also removed. Because the ovaries are removed, this will trigger menopause.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends this particular type of hysterectomy if the ovaries are likely to cause problems if left in situ. A surgeon may recommend this type of hysterectomy if you have a family history of ovarian cancer, for example.
This involves the removal of the uterus and all surrounding tissues, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, lymph glands and fatty tissue. Because the ovaries are removed as part of this procedure, this will trigger a surgical menopause.
This is a much more extensive type of hysterectomy and is usually carried out to remove and treat cancer. A radical hysterectomy is recommended if other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, have not worked.
There are three surgical methods which may be used when performing a hysterectomy. This includes a laparoscopic hysterectomy (keyhole surgery), a vaginal hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed via the vagina) and an abdominal hysterectomy, where a horizontal cut is made along the bikini line to remove the uterus and any additional tissues via the abdomen.
The surgeon will decide on the best surgical method according to the type of hysterectomy which is being performed and your medical history.
A hysterectomy can bring relief from a number of gynaecological conditions. These include:
Fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths made up of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop in or around the uterus. They range from the size of a pea up to the size of a melon. Some women may not even be aware that they have fibroids, but around one in three will experience fibroids symptoms such as heavy or painful periods, abdominal or lower back pain and pain during sex.
In endometriosis, tissue similar to that found in the uterus starts growing where it shouldn’t be, for example on the ovaries or fallopian tubes. This can be incredibly painful and lead to heavy and irregular periods. A hysterectomy will usually only be considered as a treatment if other less-invasive treatments have not worked.
After childbirth, the tissues and ligaments supporting the uterus may become weak, causing it to drop down from its normal position and bulge into the vagina. Women with a prolapsed uterus, who are post-menopausal or who do not plan on having any more children, may be suitable for a hysterectomy. This can help to relieve the pressure on the vaginal walls, cutting the chance of a prolapse recurring.
A hysterectomy is carried as a cancer treatment only when all other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have not worked. A hysterectomy may be carried out to treat cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, cancer of the uterus or cancer of the fallopian tubes.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection that affects the female reproductive system. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics if caught early, but as it progresses it can damage the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in long-term pain.
Sometimes heavy periods are caused by fibroids, but in many cases it isn’t clear why a woman suffers from heavy periods. As well as losing lots of blood, a woman experiencing regular heavy periods may suffer from stomach cramps and pain, affecting her quality of life.
In this condition, tissue that normally lines the uterus starts to grow within the muscular wall of the uterus, causing a great deal of pelvic pain and period pain.
Included in this treatment
Up to two 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea
Your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence
24/7 on call nurse assistance
Dedicated Patient Co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan
A pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery
Comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses
There are three different ways that a hysterectomy can be performed.
Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery is by far the preferred method to carry out a hysterectomy. Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure which allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and pelvis without having to make large cuts through the skin. Instead only a small incision is needed, just big enough to allow a small tube with a light and camera (a laparoscope) into the body. Surgical instruments will be inserted through other small incisions made in the abdomen or vagina to remove your uterus, cervix and any other parts of the reproductive system. A laparoscopy is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic. It is the least invasive of the three hysterectomy procedures.
A vaginal hysterectomy, where the uterus and cervix are removed through a cut made at the top of the vagina, can be carried out under a general, local or spinal anaesthetic.
Once the incision has been made special surgical instruments are put into the vagina to gently detach the uterus from the ligaments that hold it in place. After the uterus and cervix have been removed, dissolvable stitches are used to close the incision.
A vaginal hysterectomy is a less invasive procedure than an abdominal hysterectomy and the recovery time is usually quicker.
An abdominal hysterectomy is usually recommended if your uterus has been enlarged by fibroids of pelvic tumours, making it physically impossible to remove the uterus through the vagina.
The surgeon will make a horizontal incision along the bikini line to remove the uterus. If there are particularly large fibroids present, then a vertical incision, stretching from the belly button to the bikini line, may be used instead.
An abdominal hysterectomy takes around one hour to perform under a general anaesthetic. It is the most invasive surgical option.
You should aim to exercise, eat healthily and lose weight if you are overweight as good health before surgery will help speed up recovery and reduce the risk of complications.
Will also be expected to do the following ahead of your surgery:
We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us
We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journeyThe Patient Journey
What side effects should I expect following hysterectomy?
There are some side effects that you might experience following your hysterectomy. You may experience some, all, or none of the following:
Vaginal discharge: It is common to experience some vaginal discharge and bleeding during your hysterectomy recovery. This may last for up to six weeks.
If the discharge has a strong smell, or if you start to bleed more heavily or pass clots, you should see your doctor.
Urinary tract infections: You may find that you develop urinary tract infection (UTIs) after surgery.
Constipation: It is common for women to experience constipation following a hysterectomy. Upping your fibre intake will help to combat this, but you may need laxatives at first to help you avoid straining.
Menopausal symptoms: If you have had your ovaries removed during the procedure, you will be in surgical menopause. This means you may experience typical menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and feeling weepy and anxious. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be prescribed to ease these symptoms.
Emotional difficulties: A hysterectomy is a major operation and you may find it triggers emotional difficulties. It is common to experience grief and a sense of loss, particularly if there was no other alternative to a hysterectomy (in cancer treatment, for example). You may find it helps to seek out a support group or counselling if needed. If you are experiencing feelings of depression which won’t go away, speak to your doctor.
Is a hysterectomy painful?
The hysterectomy itself will be carried out under an anaesthetic, meaning you will not be able to feel any pain while the surgery is taking place. The type of anaesthetics which may be used are a general anaesthetic (you will be asleep during the procedure), local anaesthetic (you will be awake but the treatment area will be numb) or a spinal anaesthetic (be numb from the waist down). The type of anaesthetic used depends on which type of hysterectomy you are having and your own personal circumstances.
You may experience some pain once the anaesthetic has worn off, but you will be given painkillers to help with this. Once you have been discharged, over-the-counter painkillers will help with any pain or discomfort.
What is the recovery time following a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy recovery time depends on the type of surgery that you have had. It is quicker to recover from a vaginal or laparoscopy hysterectomy than an abdominal hysterectomy. It generally takes between six and eight weeks to fully recover from a hysterectomy. You should be driving again by two weeks and be able to resume your exercise routine in four to six weeks, depending on how your body feels. You should expect to take between three and six weeks off work to recovery, depending on what kind of work you do.
You should avoid all heavy lifting during your recovery.
Can I get a hysterectomy on the NHS?
Yes it is possible to get a hysterectomy on the NHS. However the NHS has been, and continues to be, hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. High levels of staff sickness have had an impact on waiting times across the board. These waiting times vary from hospital to hospital, but you may be waiting for up to a year if your case isn’t urgent. Any new waves of Covid-19 infections may result in this wait getting even longer. Because of this, many people choose to go to a private clinic for their hysterectomy. At the Cadogan Clinic, there is no waiting list, so you can have the procedure promptly.
How much does a private hysterectomy cost?
A private hysterectomy in the UK costs in the region of £6,000. This varies from clinic to clinic and depends on what is included in the treatment package.
If you choose the Cadogan Clinic for your hysterectomy in London, you will get:
What are the risks associated with hysterectomy?
As with any other type of surgery, there is a small risk of complications attached to having a hysterectomy. These include: bleeding, infection, damage to the bladder, ureter or bowel, infection, blood clots and ovary failure. If you have had your ovaries removed during surgery then you will go into menopause after surgery.
Just like any other type of surgery, there is also a risk of complications caused by the general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and complications with you ahead of your hysterectomy.
Is a hysterectomy serious surgery?
Yes, a hysterectomy is serious surgery. It can take several weeks to recover from. You should make sure you rest and avoid heavy lifting during your recovery.
A hysterectomy means that you will not be able to get pregnant and if your ovaries are removed as part of the surgery, you will go into menopause immediately afterwards. Having a hysterectomy can also have a huge emotional impact too. But on the plus side, a hysterectomy can relieve you of pain and heavy periods and improve your quality of life.
Will my body shape change after hysterectomy?
You may notice a change in your body shape after your hysterectomy. When the ligaments holding the uterus in place are cut, this can cause skeletal changes which may result in a shortened, thickened midsection, protruding belly, and loss of the curve in the lower back. Some women may find they suddenly have rolls of fat, even without gaining weight. However everyone is different and a hysterectomy can affect different women in different ways.
How soon can I have sex following hysterectomy?
You should avoid having sex until your scars have healed and you have stopped producing vaginal discharge. This should take between four and six weeks. You should not have sex unless you feel comfortable and ready to do so. You should also avoid using internal sex toys during this period.
If you find sex uncomfortable, stop and try again later. If the discomfort continues, speak to your doctor. If you have entered menopause after having your ovaries removed, then you may experience some vaginal dryness. You can try some lubricant or your GP may prescribe you some HRT to help with this.
What scarring can I expect following hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy scarring depends on which procedure you have had. Abdominal hysterectomy results in a visible scar, but this is usually along the bikini line, so it is easily covered by clothing.
A vaginal hysterectomy leaves no visible scarring. A minimally-invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy involves a small incision in the belly button and two or three other small incisions in the abdomen. These incisions will leave a few small scars around the size of a penny. These will soon fade and you will barely notice they are there.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
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All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.Our Clinic
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Complications are rare although, as with all surgery, possible. Your surgeon will discuss each of these risks comprehensively at your consultation. Read our FAQ section for more information.
We believe in the delivery of excellent outcomes and results, and exceptional levels of service. Our outcomes are natural and long-lasting, and we remain the premier choice for cosmetic surgery treatments in the UK.
Myomectomy (Fibroid Removal)
Perineum and Pelvic Floor Repair
Vaginal Tightening (Vaginoplasty)
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