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OP OF THE WEEK: HYSTERECTOMY.

A hysterectomy is carried out because of diseases and growths in the womb, and in some cases because of exceptionally painful periods.

It's no longer used routinely as a way to sterilise women as it's irreversible.

But it's still one of the most common operations in the western world.

In a total hysterectomy, the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed to prevent the spread of a cancerous tumour, but in a partial hysterectomy the ovaries - which produce essential hormones as well as eggs - are left in.

Under general anaesthetic, the uterus is removed through a cut in the front wall of the abdomen.

The muscle fibres are cut through and pulled to one side to reveal the uterus behind the bladder.

On either side of the uterus, connecting it to the side wall of the pelvic cavity, is the broad ligament, which also encloses a Fallopian tube and an ovary and a ligament called a round ligament, which supports the uterus.

The front leaf of the broad ligament on both sides is cut with scissors to expose the Fallopian tubes.

The uterus is carefully separated from the bladder and its assorted blood and urinary vessels.

The Fallopian tubes are then tied off and severed - unless the ovaries are also to be removed, in which case they will be removed with the uterus and tubes.

The round ligaments on both sides are cut. Finally, the arteries and veins connected to the uterus are tied off and severed at the base of the broad ligament.

The top end of the vagina is closed tightly with stitches and the ligaments are stitched to it so that the vagina remains supported. Most patients leave hospital after about a week. Sexual intercourse may be safely resumed within about four to six weeks.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 10, 1997
Words:298
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