What Is A Partial Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is an operation that involves removing some or all of the organs that make up a woman’s reproductive system. This may be done for many different reasons, such as treatment for different gynecologic cancers or to alleviate excessive bleeding, severe pelvic pain, or symptoms caused by conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, or a prolapsed uterus.

It can be performed using different techniques, and depending on the nature of the patient’s condition, one of three different types of hysterectomies may be performed as treatment; total, radical, or supracervical hysterectomy.

Today we are going to focus on the supracervical, better known as the partial hysterectomy, but we will also compare the partial vs total hysterectomy. We will go over what is involved, the reasons it is done, why your OB/GYN may suggest it, and the short and long-term partial hysterectomy side effects.

What Is A Partial Hysterectomy?

When a woman undergoes a partial hysterectomy, her uterus is removed from her body. The female reproductive system is made up of the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Some hysterectomies also include the removal of other reproductive parts in addition to the uterus, which can make it challenging to differentiate between a partial hysterectomy vs a total hysterectomy vs a radical hysterectomy.

  • A partial hysterectomy removes the uterus only.
  • A total hysterectomy removes the uterus and the cervix.
  • A radical removes the uterus, cervix, and the tissue supporting them and is normally only necessary if cancer is present.
  • If I do the removal of one or more ovaries along with a hysterectomy, it is called an oophorectomy, and if the fallopian tubes are removed this is a salpingo-oophorectomy procedure.

Both a partial hysterectomy and a total hysterectomy can include removing one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes, but these procedures are still referred to as a partial or total hysterectomy unless all the reproductive parts are removed. This can make things a bit confusing.

Types of  Hysterectomy

Total vs Partial Hysterectomy Side Effects

The top part of the uterus is taken out during surgery for a partial hysterectomy, and the bottom portion (the cervix) is left in place. During a total hysterectomy, both the top portion of the uterus and the cervix are removed.

Extracting the cervix can heighten the probability of side effects after undergoing a hysterectomy, including:

Bladder And Bowel Issues
Removal of the cervix can have an impact on bladder control and bowel functionality. Women may have difficulty controlling urination or experience increased frequency in their trips to the toilet.
Sexual Dysfunction
After a total hysterectomy, some women experience challenges related to sexual intimacy. The elimination of the cervix may be one reason this happens, or the shortening of the vagina, which can make sex super uncomfortable and affect total sexual function. If the ovaries are also extracted, it can result in a decrease in a woman’s libido.
Vaginal Prolapse
When the upper portion of the vagina (the vaginal vault) begins to sag and fall into the vaginal canal, it causes a condition called prolapse. This condition can occur for different reasons but can be brought on by a hysterectomy, causing pain, pressure, and urinary incontinence.
Vaginal Cuff Issues
Both radical and total hysterectomies involve removing the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, and some tissue that surrounds it. The top of the vagina will be stitched together to close off the space left by the removal of the cervix, which is known as the vaginal cuff. In rare cases, this cuff can tear after a hysterectomy and cause symptoms that include sudden pain in the abdomen, fever, nausea, discharge, bleeding, and pain during intercourse.

Another complication that can arise is the formation of granulation tissue on the vaginal cuff. This happens when one or more of the stitches that are used to close the top part of the vagina do not heal properly and begin to form small lumps of bleeding tissue that can be quite painful.

Side Effects Of A Partial Hysterectomy

The first two side effects that women experience after having a partial hysterectomy are:

  • They no longer can become pregnant;
  • They will no longer have a menstrual cycle.

Other symptoms may occur depending on the extent of the surgery and how much of the reproductive anatomy was extracted. Removal of the ovaries will cause the early onset of menopause, and sometimes removing the uterus will cause the ovaries to fail even if they are left intact. Some other side effects of a partial hysterectomy include:

  • Loss of vaginal lubrication;
  • Reduced libido;
  • Depression;
  • Side effects of menopause;
  • Memory issues;
  • Involuntary urination;
  • Increased risk of additional health issues.

Researchers have discovered that the uterus serves other functions aside from reproduction and that females who have had partial hysterectomy surgery and lost their uterus before the age of 50 have a higher chance of experiencing coronary disease or stroke.

Do You Know The Number One Reason Women Have A Hysterectomy?

You are probably thinking that the answer to this question is cancer, but surprisingly, this accounts for only about 10% of the over 600,000 hysterectomies that are performed each year. Uterine fibroids are the leading reason women in the U.S. have their uterus removed.

What Is A Better Option Than A Partial Hysterectomy For Fibroids?

Fibroids are not cancerous, and more than 90% of women who suffer from severe symptoms caused by fibroids can be effectively treated with a non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). The sad truth is that most of them are not aware they even have this option.

UFE is done by an interventional radiologist who has had special training and years of experience performing this procedure. It is not done by a gynecologist, so they don’t always advise their patients of this option. They offer myomectomy or hysterectomy surgery as treatment options that can compromise or eliminate the uterus completely.

UFE is safe and effective, and unlike a myomectomy, it can treat all fibroids regardless of how deeply they are embedded in the uterine wall. Within only a few months, most patients find relief from heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and other life-interrupting symptoms caused by fibroids.

Before you choose to have a drastic surgery to treat uterine myomas or adenomyosis, schedule an appointment at the Atlanta Fibroid Center and talk with the fibroid experts. Dr. Lipman and Dr. Ermentrout collectively have over four decades of experience with UFE and helping free women from the side effects of these unwanted growths. UFE is done as an outpatient procedure and allows you to keep your uterus, offering significantly fewer short and long-term risks than undergoing surgery.

Contact the fibroid experts at Atlanta Fibroid Center and learn more about how to eliminate fibroid symptoms without losing your uterus.

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