Important Questions to Ask Before a Hysterectomy

What You Should Know Before a Hysterectomy

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A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, the organ that holds a fetus during pregnancy. There are several types of hysterectomies that patients and physicians choose from, using different types of incisions and instruments. In addition, an oophorectomy, or surgery to remove the ovaries is often combined with a hysterectomy.

If the variety of procedures wasn't confusing enough, there are also multiple alternatives to a hysterectomy, including less invasive outpatient surgical procedures that leave the uterus intact and medication.

This list of questions to ask your surgeon is designed to help you choose the right procedure, or alternative to surgery, for you. Each woman and situation is different, so not all of the questions will be appropriate for you.

You can even print this list and use it as a reference during your consultation with your surgeon.

After reading through this list, you may have additional questions to add. It is always a good idea to write your questions down, as it is easy to forget them when you are sitting in the doctor's office.

Questions About Alternatives to Hysterectomy

  • If I would like to have children, what alternatives to hysterectomy are appropriate at this time?
  • I am not interested in having children. What alternatives to hysterectomy are available?
  • Are there any procedures that will help me but leave my uterus intact?
  • What non-surgical alternatives are currently available?
  • Will this condition resolve without surgery at some point?
  • I’m nearing menopause. Will menopause improve my symptoms without surgery?

There are many general questions that you should ask before having surgery, but there are additional specific questions you should ask if you are considering a hysterectomy.

You may find it difficult to understand the different types of hysterectomies that are available. There are different approaches, meaning where the incision is placed, which can dramatically alter your recovery.

There are also additional procedures that may be combined with the hysterectomy, such as an oophorectomy (removing the ovaries) or removal of the cervix.

These questions will help you determine why your surgeon is recommending a specific type of hysterectomy and if it is the best surgery for you.

Questions About Hysterectomy Procedures

  • Which organs and structures do you plan to remove?
  • Will you be using an abdominal, vaginal or laparoscopic technique? Can you explain the pros and cons of each technique?
  • How long should I expect to be in surgery and in the hospital afterwards?
  • Will the surgery you are recommending cause menopause?
  • I have endometriosis, what will you do to make sure there is minimal endometrial tissue left behind to cause problems after surgery?
  • Is this surgery a cure, or just a treatment?
  • Can you explain the pros and cons of removing the cervix versus leaving it intact?
  • Is there anything about my gynecological history that would cause you to favor removing the cervix over leaving it in place?
  • I have a history of ectopic pregnancy. Is it a risk to leave my ovaries intact?
  • Why are you recommending this type of hysterectomy rather than one of the many other types of hysterectomies?
  • I understand that I could continue to have periods if my cervix is left intact, why are you recommending it not be removed?
  • Is it possible to combine a hysterectomy with another procedure (tummy tuck, bladder sling, etc)?
  • I’m nearing menopause, which I understand may significantly improve my fibroids. Should I just wait until menopause instead of having surgery?

If you are having a hysterectomy, it is important that you have reasonable expectations about what the surgery will do for you. These questions should help you determine if the procedure will give you the results you are looking for and the side effects you can expect.

In some cases, a hysterectomy may cure the condition making the surgery necessary.

In other cases, a hysterectomy may only minimize symptoms or provide temporary relief. The following questions will help make sure you understand what type of outcome you can realistically expect after surgery.

Finding out as much as possible about a "normal" recovery after the procedure you choose will help you plan for any assistance you may need in the weeks following surgery. It is also important to find out what type of follow-up medical care you will require after your recovery. Some women will not require a yearly pap smear after surgery, other women will. It is important to know if you will continue to need this important test, which can detect precancerous and cancerous cells.

Questions About Life After Hysterectomy Surgery

  • What are the chances my symptoms could reoccur after surgery?
  • What are the chances that cancer has spread beyond my cervix/uterus/ovaries and will require further surgery?
  • Will my condition continue to get worse without surgery, or will it be more likely to continue as it currently is?
  • Do you recommend hormone replacement therapy once the surgery is complete?
  • Will I continue to need regular pap smears after a hysterectomy?
  • How long after surgery will treatment be delayed for my cancer while I heal from this procedure?

More Important Information: All About Hysterectomy Surgery

A Word From VeryWell:

A hysterectomy is a common surgery, but one that should be thoroughly considered before making the final decision to have the procedure.  There are many different ways a hysterectomy can be performed, and even more reasons why a hysterectomy may be recommended--but that doesn't make it necessary.  

Take the time to research the procedure, the alternatives as well as the risks and rewards, as your recovery time and the final outcome will depend on the decisions you make.  


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Elective and risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. January 2008.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Endometriosis. American Family Physician. Accessed on January 31, 2009

Hysterectomies. National Institutes of Health

Incidence of symptom reoccurrence after hysterectomy for endometriosis. Fertility and Sterility Journal. November 1995.

Spotting, despite hysterectomy, never considered “normal”. Dr. Peter Gott. The Daily Herald. Accessed January 28, 2009