What is a Hysterectomy? Dr. Kowalski Explains

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So much information floods the internet every day. When a woman fears she may need a major surgery like a hysterectomy, a simple Google search can make anyone apprehensive about making a doctor’s appointment.

Likewise, if your doctor has recommended a hysterectomy, it can be daunting to research all the questions you have about the procedure or find a reliable source that will give you the real facts. Dr. Lynn Kowalski of NVSCC created a few YouTube videos to help people seeking more information learn a few basic facts about what a hysterectomy is. Below is a transcription of her video:

“What is a Hysterectomy?”

“Hello, I’m Dr. Lynn Kowalski, I’m a gynecologic oncologist practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we’re going to answer a question that many women ask me when they come to see me in my practice for a consultation.

Today our question is: What is a hysterectomy? And I think part of the question is to talk about what a hysterectomy is and what a hysterectomy is not.

A hysterectomy literally means removing the uterus. It does not necessarily mean removing the ovaries and tubes, and it also does not necessarily mean removing the cervix. There are different terms we use to subdivide the types of hysterectomies.

So for example, a total hysterectomy means removing the uterus and cervix. A total hysterectomy does not mean removing the ovaries and tubes; that’s considered separate. So a lot of women don’t necessarily understand the difference, and when they come to see me as a patient, they say, “well I had a partial hysterectomy.” A partial hysterectomy isn’t really a term that doctors necessarily relate to because that would imply just taking out a part of the uterus and leaving another part of the uterus behind. We don’t normally do that. So, I think what a lot of women mean by partial hysterectomy is that the uterus and cervix were removed, but the ovaries were left behind.

The uterus and cervix can be removed separately from the ovarian tubes. The uterus and cervix’s function in a woman’s body is really just to carry a pregnancy. And that’s the area that bleeds every month when a woman has a period. The ovaries are the part of the body that makes the hormones, and the part of the body that contains eggs. So, if a woman needs a hysterectomy, for example, for abnormal bleeding from fibroids, she doesn’t necessarily want her ovaries out at the same time because she’d like to keep her hormones.

If we do a hysterectomy and divide across the ligament, we can leave the ovaries inside, and the ovaries can continue to produce hormones. If a woman is past the age of menopause and the ovaries aren’t working anymore, we typically want to take them out when we do the hysterectomy anyway.”

Do you have further questions about the different types of hysterectomies? Need a consultation for your procedure? For expert care and a doctor with years of experience, contact Dr. Kowalski of NVSCC by calling 702-739-6467 to make an appointment.

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