Abdominal hysterectomy

Abdominal hysterectomy refers to any hysterectomy operation carried out through a cut in the abdominal wall. The uterus (womb) is removed, and in some cases the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments and cervix may be removed as well; although this will depend on the reason the hysterectomy became necessary.

In most cases an abdominal hysterectomy is undertaken by what’s called a bikini line incision, this is where the gynaecologist cuts through the abdomen from horizontally at the level you’d normally wear a pair of bikini bottoms. This is the least invasive of the abdominal hysterectomy procedures.

However, in some cases, particularly where the uterus (womb) is particularly large or bulky then it may be necessary to do what’s called a vertical incision. This type of incision runs from the chest area to the groin and allows a gynaecologist greater access to the abdominal cavity.

It takes longer to recover from an abdominal hysterectomy, and it is still the preferred technique in the UK, accounting for more than 32,000 hysterectomies in the UK in 2012. The reason for it’s preference could be due to various factors including, whether surgeons are trained in alternative techniques and the health problems women are presenting with.

According to our on-going hysterectomy recovery survey, women take between 11 and 14 weeks to return to work after an abdominal hysterectomy.

Recommended Reading:

star buyThe Pocket Guide to Hysterectomy – £5.50 from The Hysterectomy Association. This is essential reading and tell you everything you need to know about the menopause after a hysterectomy.

Recommended Resources:

27 thoughts on “Abdominal hysterectomy

  1. Hi my mum is having a hysterectomy done soon.. she is 72.. I’m really scared and worried..

  2. I am currently on 6 months injections (zoladex) which shuts down the ovaries and mimicks the menopause. My gynaecologist recommended I had these to see how I feel before taking the leap to have a hysterectomy at the end of the year. I havent had the best time on the injections, I have been moody, my joints have been aching and I am very tired all the time. Im on Livial (HRT) which is a combined HRT. If I do have the hysterectomy I am going to have the total hysterectomy procedure with the ovaries removed as I suffer from terrible PMDD and tried so many remedies, contraceptives, Mirena coil, antidepressants over the years and feel the only option is surgery.

    I will only need to take transermal oestrogen and testosterone to maintain my health, energy, libido and mood after the operation which I have read is safer option than the combined hrt.

    I am just concerned how I will feel after the operation. I have read that it is very difficult to balance your hormones afterwards and read some horrible stories on some of the forums of women saying that they are exhausted and regret having the operation. I need to make a decision by November and I am so unsure what to do. I wondered if how I feel now on the injection if it will be a similar resemblence to how I will feel after the operation? Anyone else experiencing this? Thanks Julie

  3. I am on waiting list for a hysterectomy, I’ve been told it will most likely be an abdominal procedure as my fibroids have grown twice the size since my scan last Nov, I’m obviously looking forward to having any op that will after three years of almost constant heavy bleed which is exhausting and pain and pressure on my bladder and bowel but I’m worried I’ve had no blood tests at all even tho I’ve tried to compensate with diet and supplements, I’ve not had a recent scan and I’ve agreed to ‘fast track’s the procedure by not having a surgical consultation, I don’t want to have my op at our local hospital as not only 43% of the staff would recommend treatment for it there and the whole theatre dept is moving to new build and will affect waiting list times, who do I contact at other hospitals to get information on waiting lists so I can ask the gynecologist consultant to refer me to another hospital , my gynecologist dosnt have a secretary but I’ve been promised a call back! If anyone can help me with who I aim for at other hospitals, I would be very grateful

  4. I surgery is on 6th Feb I’m supposed to resting after several months of severe continuous bleeding. Basically I’m a wreck I’m so scared I really want to pull out. All the reviews about qa hospital are terrible about recovery help and so many mistakes have been made with me Inc appointment in maternity which is not present when you can’t have children.

    1. I hope the surgery went well Celia and that you are now home and recovering.

    2. Hi I’ve had a total abdominal hysterectomy at 34 unable to have children. I’m sorry but I believe reading reviews may just scare you. Every individual is different. So many people told me scary stories. So many people tried in hospital before my operation. I know it’s hard I have been there. Try stay focusing on you not negative reviews that will scare you. Like I said everyone’s case is different xxx

    3. That is very good advice indeed Helen and one we should all pay attention to 🙂

    4. I’m 34 years old too. I will be facing an abdominal hysterectomy with a vertical incision. I’ve been doing some research on a website called Hystersister. It’s a website that is a support group for women who had or will be having hysterectomy. I found it help in a way because I wanted to be prepared for what lies a head, however, yes, recovery will vary. Getting information should help ease the of having a major surgery. I have mixed emotions because 1. I don’t have children and 2. My three huge fibroids the largest one bigger than 8cm is giving me problems. I’m looking at 6 weeks recovery

    5. Well said, I had my total hysterectomy on Friday, what will be, will be, everybody is different.
      No one can change that.

  5. Hi
    I am 45 and having a total hysterectomy on Friday. Most concerned about damage and possible repair work as very large fibroid is growing on the back wall of my uterus. I have had a colonoscopy and everything is fine but am concerned about the level of pain and recovery period. I have had two children with no pain relief and am hoping that the hysterectomy post op pain will not be any worse than that!!!

    Anyone had similar issue and what was the recovery time?

    Good luck to anyone else undergoing surgery in the next few weeks.

    best wishes and thanks for answering


    1. Hi,
      I am 33 and had a full hysterectomy on 27 July. I drove yesterday and things are getting back to normal.

      Waking up in recovery was not painful, the biggest trouble I had was constipation ! Worth taking something early on if you have trouble too.
      I was discharged on 30 July but I have MS and I am sure I would have left on 29th if in better health.

      Good luck, try not to worry, everyone is different but I know I would do it again if I had too!

    2. Hello. I am 36. Mother of two. Had cervical issues and large fibroids. I’m 2 weeks post abdominal hysterectomy. They attempted laparoscopic but were not successful and had to go in through my abdomin. I also have the incisions from laparoscopic tools. I’m already back to work part time. Next week full time. The first week was difficult. Pain management (I only took Tylenol) and nausea were constant. Constipation caused pain. Week 2 has been completely different. I walk everyday up and down the block. I drink a lot of water. Rest when needed (2 young kids make that difficult). Every recovery is different.
      I’m reading people saying they needed 8-11 weeks off work. I’m back at 2 weeks. I believe the best thing you can do for recovery is walk. I wish you a speedy recovery and successful surgery!! A quick recovery is possible!

    3. Wow , work after 2 weeks. Everyone, including consultant has told me at least 6 weeks. I had hysterectomy 5 Years ago and have just come out from now having my ovaries removed due to cysts and endometriosis. Vertical incision. think the thing to remember is there is a lot of healing to do inside which we cannot see. Although we may feel fine we have to make sure no damage is done to the healing inside. That said only you know your own body and I am glad you are doing so well. I am now 1 week on and getting better each day aalthough coughing is painful and I have some pulling at incision. I know this is normal as I had this when I had the bikini line incision. I am pretty sure I won’t be off the 12 weeks that is recommended although I only work partime my job is very busy and I don’t want any complications further on down the line.

  6. Anxious as I am getting a abdominal hysterectomy in a few days more the pain I will feel when I wake up

    1. I am quite good with pain and had a lot of pain due to the reason I need this op I am just scared of how I am going to feel when I wake up could ppl please share there experience and open as I prefer that many thanks. Xx

    2. I was in a lot of pain, and suffered the day after with a belly full of wind, terrible, wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,
      Good luck, you will be better afterwards, I couldn’t see past that on Saturday, 4 days on, am feeling better, just have so much healing to do.

  7. I am having this procedure done on Monday 22nd April, 2013. I have lived the last 10 years in pain during and after my monthly cycle. Hormones raging, cold, hot flashes, mood swings and still no end in sight. I want to know when will I feel like myself again. i am counting the days for this procedure, i have mourned the end of my reproductive years and i am finally looking forward for a better quality of life, one without physical pain and agony. I will miss my period but i think that i will look forward to this with anticipation.

    1. Good luck today Nicole, I do hope the surgery goes well and I’ll keep you in my thoughts 🙂

  8. I have just signed my consent form this Monday (18.02.2013) and since then have been really emotional and scared. I am having a TAH due to returning eno after 4 ablations since being 25. This web site is amazing but I can’t seem to get rid of this all consuming anxiety. I want to spend the next six weeks getting fit and mentally preparing myself but all I can think about is that something awful will happen. Is this normal?

    1. Yes, it is perfectly normal to be anxious, I’d be more surprised if you weren’t to be honest Emma 🙂

  9. Hi, I am only 27 and unfortunately having a hysterectomy tomorrow, well in a few hours actually. I have been battling on and off with gynaecology problems for the last five and a half years and have had ovarian cancer twice. Unfortunately I have been unable to have children and now I have to have this difinitive surgery. Do you know of any possible support I could receive after this to help get my head round it all? And also do you have any tips to help with a quick and good recovery?

    1. Did you get our free emails and booklet? If not you can sign up for them here: http://www.hysterectomy-association.org.uk/get-your-free-hysterectomy-booklet-now/

  10. I have a fibroid which is attached to the muscles under my tummy button, one consultant wants to do a vertical cut hysterectomy and the other wants to do a bikini cut which is the safest?

    1. They are both safe in the right hands Julia 🙂

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