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 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 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 its 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 ongoing hysterectomy recovery survey, women take between 11 and 14 weeks to return to work after an abdominal hysterectomy.
The Pocket Guide to Hysterectomy is an essential reading and tells you everything you need to know about menopause after a hysterectomy.