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Exploratory Laparotomy: Open exploration of the abdomen.

Total Abdominal Hysterectomy: Removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries and tubes.

Bilateral Salpingo-oopherectomy: Removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Incisions

Vertical/Midline: Up and down incision usually extending from just above the pubic hair to the umbilicus. At times, it is necessary to extend the incision just above the umbilicus.

Pfannensteil: This incision stretches across the lower abdomen just above the pubic hair, similar to a cesarean section scar.

Laparoscopic: This is accomplised using small incisions usually three to five. Cameras and instruments are inserted into ports to view the abdomen, take biopsies or take down adhesions as needed.

Possible Complications from Surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding and injury to the bladder, rectum or ureter causing a leak
  • Blood clots in the legs, which can occasionally dislodge and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)

Additional Information

In younger women whose ovaries are removed during surgery, the body’s natural source of estrogen is lost and menopause will begin. Symptoms of menopause are likely to appear soon after the surgery and hormone replacement therapy is sometimes used to ease symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings. Ovarian and uterine cancer patients should discuss the risks and benefits of using hormone replacement therapy as estrogen in certain individuals can be an increased risk of recurrent disease.