What Complications Might a Patient Face After Having a Hysterectomy?

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A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a woman’s uterus. In some cases, a hysterectomy will also involve removing the fallopian tubes and ovaries (oophorectomy). There are a few types of hysterectomy. A complete hysterectomy involves removing both the uterus and the cervix. A partial hysterectomy involves leaving the cervix in tact and only removing the upper area of the uterus. A radical hysterectomy involves removing the uterus, upper vagina, cervix and supporting tissues. More than 600,000 women have this procedure each year and many of them recover well. However, there are several possible complications after a hysterectomy that can occur.

Anesthesia Problems

Anesthesia problems are not common, but they can and do occur. Some women may experience breathing problems such as difficulty breathing or cessation of breath. Some women may experience heart problems, including cardiac arrest. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the anesthesia used which can be very serious, sometimes resulting in death.

Blood Loss

A hysterectomy is a major surgery and like all major surgeries blood loss is a possible complication. For some women this blood blood will be relatively minor and will not require emergency care. However, some women will experience heavy blood loss as a possible complication of a hysterectomy. If heavy blood loss occurs the woman will require a blood transfusion to save her life. Heavy blood loss with this procedure is not considered a common complication.

Bowel Injury

During this surgical procedure the surgeon will be working close to the bowel. In rare cases, the bowel can become injured during surgery. If this occurs it may result in the need for an additional surgery in order to repair the bowel. In some cases the bowel may not be able to be repaired resulting in the patient needing to wear a bag to catch their bowel movements.

Bladder Injury

This surgical procedure removes organs that are within close proximity to the bladder. Because of this there is a risk of bladder injury. If a bladder injury occurs the patient may need to undergo an additional surgery to correct the injury. If the injury cannot be corrected the patient may need to have the bladder removed.


This major surgery presents the risk of infection. An infection will most often occur at the skin level of the incision if one occurs. If not treated promptly this infection may spread to the deeper tissues. Ultimately, if an infection is not promptly and properly treated it can result in death.


Women’s Health. (2006). Hysterectomy. Retrieved on September 25, 2009 from Website: https://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/hysterectomy.cfm