Abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus or the womb is removed through an incision made in the lower abdominal wall. There are several types of hysterectomies performed through the abdominal incision and these can include total removal of the uterus, removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes as well as the ovaries and, partial removal of the uterus or sub-total hysterectomy.
How is the procedure of abdominal hysterectomy done?
The process involves making a relatively wide incision in the lower abdomen and moving apart the abdominal wall in order to reveal the pelvic content. The uterus will be separated from its ligamental links and adhesions if present and will be removed after separating and suturing of the vaginal vault in instances of total removal of the uterus. In certain instances, the lower parts of the uterus such as the cervix will be left in the pelvis. At the same time, the doctors will also look for the possibility of removing the fallopian tubes and the ovaries if the patient is about to or have already reached the menopausal age.
Following removal the abdominal wall will be closed in layers and if required surgeons may insert a drain to suck out accumulating fluids and blood.
What are the possible complications following abdominal hysterectomy?
When considering an abdominal hysterectomy, there can be complications pertaining to the surgical procedure as well as in relation to anesthesia given for the surgery. In any event, the occurrences of major complications are not so common although minor complications can take place relatively commonly following such procedures.
Among the complications which are directly related to the surgery, bleeding can be a major incident and this can manifest as heavy vaginal bleeding, bright red color drained fluid, soaking of the wound dressing, progressive abdominal distension or else as shortness of breath, dizziness, light headedness and chest pain.
An infection of the surgical site is another complication which can prolong the healing process as well as lead to life threatening events as well. Thus, the occurrence of fever, pus discharges, foul smelling vaginal discharge or else redness and tenderness over the abdominal scar should be treated as soon as possible.
Urine infection is one complication that has been seen at a higher incidence among persons undergoing abdominal hysterectomy and one should take measures to drink plenty of fluids as well as to adhere to good hygienic practices following such surgical procedures to avoid this complication.
Deep vein thrombosis is a known complication following pelvic and abdominal surgeries and in most instances the underlying cause for such rare manifestations is the lack of mobility. Exercising the lower limbs regularly and being mobile will alleviate this risk in most instances.
Apart from the above complications, these patients will also be susceptible to develop allergic reactions to anesthetic agents which have been used for the surgery.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that, modern surgical and post surgical care can tackle many of these complications rather effectively while minimize the suffering which may be encountered by patients.