A hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus, is major – and often life-altering – surgery. Besides leaving a woman unable to bear a child, it can require months of recuperation and cause early menopause symptoms and numerous other issues.
Nonetheless, it’s still performed in many cases where less invasive treatments could be used. One study found that up to 70% of hysterectomies are unnecessary.
Why are hysterectomies so often the solution for fibroids?
Many doctors still recommend hysterectomies for women suffering from uterine fibroids. These are typically noncancerous growths that can be extremely painful and cause heavy bleeding that can lead to anemia.
Because most non-medical professionals know little about uterine fibroids, they may not know that they can often be treated by non-surgical methods like uterine fibroid embolization (UME), where the blood vessels that feed the fibroids are blocked.
If a doctor recommends a hysterectomy for uterine fibroids or another condition – particularly if it’s noncancerous, it’s wise to get another medical opinion and ask (and learn) about alternative treatments before deciding whether a hysterectomy is the best choice for you. One doctor notes, “The antiquated concept that the uterus is a disposable organ needs to be put to bed.”
Hysterectomies have come a long way
If you decide that a hysterectomy is your best option, it’s important to know that the procedure doesn’t have to be as invasive and damaging to the body as it once was. There are many new, less-invasive techniques. One OB-GYN says, “A patient considering hysterectomy should make sure that the gynecologic surgeon she chooses is experienced in these newer techniques.”
It’s also crucial to be sure before you undergo a hysterectomy that your condition – whatever it is – was properly diagnosed. Learning that you underwent a hysterectomy that was completely unnecessary can be devastating. If that is the case, it’s wise to find out what kind of legal recourse you may have.