Hysterectomy is one of the commonest surgeries done in women. It is a safe surgery and has low risks of complications. It can prove to be life-saving in case of cancer. It can effectively relieve symptoms of various diseases of the uterus and ovary (such as bleeding or discomfort related to fibroids, severe endometriosis or uterine prolapse). The risk of complication is low as the surgeons who perform them, do so on a regular basis, which improves their skills and helps improve outcomes for their patients. Also, many hysterectomy patients are otherwise healthy, which decreases the risk of complications during and after the procedure.
But every surgery has risks. Fortunately less than 10% of hysterectomy patients experience a major or minor complication, according to studies. The risks of complications are slightly more in women who undergo open abdominal hysterectomy than with the vaginal and laparoscopic abdominal procedures.
Risks of Hysterectomy
Complications related to anaesthesia occur more often in women who smoke, are obese, or have serious heart or lung disease. Besides the general risks associated with any surgery and the risks associated with anaesthesia, some of the common risks of hysterectomy include:
- Fever: You may have fever during recovery which may vary from mild to severe. Fever may be caused because of bladder infection or wound infection. If fever occurs because of an infection, it is usually treated with antibiotics.
- Blood loss: Mild to moderate blood loss may occur during hysterectomy. In some women, bleeding may continue through the recovery period. If blood loss during surgery or after surgery is significant, blood transfusion may be needed. Some women may be given blood transfusion before surgery because of anaemia.
- Injury to adjacent organs and tissues: In hysterectomy, adjacent structures such as the bladder or intestines may get injured. In some women the ureter (tube which carries urine from kidney to bladder) may get injured.
- Change of approach: If the surgeon is unable to remove the uterus through vaginal approach, change from vaginal incision to abdominal incision may be needed during surgery.
- Hematoma: Blood may collect at surgical site leading to formation of hematoma. It can get infected. If the hematoma is small, it may resolve without further treatment. But in cases of significant collection of blood, drainage of blood from hematoma may be needed.
- Dehiscence: In some cases, sutures at the site of incision may open and wound may gape (open up). This is more common in cases with abdominal incision and women who are obese.