Are you scheduled to have a hysterectomy surgery and are wondering what to expect in as far as the hysterectomy scar is concerned? Then you have come to the right place. This article will not only explain the nature and dynamics of hysterectomy scarring, but also highlight several options available to reduce them.
What Is Hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is an operation done to remove the womb (uterus). The procedure is more common for 40 to 50 years old women. It is usually performed to treat female reproductive system conditions such as menorrhagia (heavy periods), cancer of the cervix, ovaries or uterus, non-cancerous tumors (fibroids: and chronic pelvic pain.
During hysterectomy, the whole uterus may be removed or just a part of it. The cervix, fallopian tube and ovaries may as well be removed. There are three types of hysterectomy, namely, total hysterectomy, partial hysterectomy, and radical hysterectomy.
Total hysterectomy involves removing the entire uterus and cervix. Partial hysterectomy on the other hand leaves the cervix in place. As for radical hysterectomy, the uterus is removed alongside the surrounding tissues, including the upper part of the vagina, fallopian tube, ovaries, fatty tissue, and lymph glands.
The type of hysterectomy chosen depends on your medical history, the reason for the operation.
Hysterectomy Scar Tissue Symptoms
A scar will without doubt form at the point of incision. The most obvious symptoms of hysterectomy scar tissue are redness, inflammation and lumpiness during the first few days. The scar will then gradually turn paler, softer and flatter. Painful intercourse and bowel movements are also often associated with internal scar tissue and are often a sign of adhesions
Scar Tissue after Hysterectomy – Scar Tissue from Hysterectomy
As with any surgical procedure, hysterectomy leads to formation of scar tissue as the incision wound heals. The size and location of the scar tissue from hysterectomy vary depending on the approach chosen among of vaginal, abdominal and laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Vaginal hysterectomy entails removing the womb through an incision made in the top of the vagina while abdominal hysterectomy entails making an incision in lower abdomen.
Also known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopic hysterectomy is a variation of abdominal hysterectomy which involves numerous small incisions in the abdomen instead of one large incision, hence the name keyhole.
Of these, abdominal hysterectomy technique is the most commonly used.
How well the scar tissue after hysterectomy heals vary from one patient to another depending on various factors including the technique used, how strictly the patient follows the post-op guidelines, and genetic predisposition of the patient to scarring.
If you are however bothered by how the hysterectomy scar looks, maybe it makes you uncomfortable wearing a 2-piece bikini on the beach, then you can always resort to surgical and non-surgical hysterectomy scar treatment options to improve its appearance.
Among these include dermabrasion, laser treatment, silicone gel sheeting, radio therapy, steroid injection, scar creams, and surgical scar revision techniques such as punch excision and punch grafting.
Your best bet would be to discuss your options with a board certified plastic surgeon.
Hysterectomy Scar tissue Pain
Hysterectomy scar tissue pain is typically the result of formation of adhesions. Adhesions are bands of fibrous tissue that form between tissues and organs, often joining together two organs that are normally separate. During the process, nerves may get pinched leading to creation of a pressure point. This is what then causes pain.
Hysterectomy Scar Pictures – Photos
We wouldn’t have done this article any favor wrapping it up without including some photos to illustrate the kind of scarring someone can expect after a hysterectomy surgery. In that spirit, here are a couple hysterectomy scar pictures:
This picture shows a scar sustained from an abdominal hysterectomy performed using the horizontal incision. As you can see, the location of the scar makes it easy to hide it below the bikini line.
This photo shows a scar left behind after a hysterectomy surgery to treat fibroids done using the vertical incision. This type of hysterectomy scar is more noticeable and is not as easy to hide as the horizontal hysterectomy scar.
Abdominal Hysterectomy Scar
Abdominal hysterectomy is a common approach to uterus removal in women. In most cases, it involves making a horizontal incision along the bikini line. The resulting abdominal hysterectomy scar is normally neatly hidden along the bikini line and is not a cause of concern for most people.
It is however sometimes necessary to make vertical incisions running from the area below the chest to the groin. This results in a bigger, more visible scar.
Regardless of the type of incision used, abdominal hysterectomy scars have a major downside in that they are more likely to cause adhesions than those resulting from vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Hysterectomy Scar Healing Process
The hysterectomy scar will look reddened and slightly raised at the beginning but will soften and fade away over time. Scars typically heal in 4-6 weeks and most hysterectomy scars will have matured in 6-12 months as to blend in with the surrounding skin and become hardly noticeable.
The scars might however take as long as 2 to 3 years in some patients due to factors such as poor healing of the wound and genetic predisposition to scarring. A scar that takes so long to mature may be a candidate for scar treatment options such as laser therapy, silicone gel sheeting, dermabrasion, surgical revision etc.
The appropriateness of any treatment options – or combination of treatment options for that matter – depends on the type of scar and the extent of scarring. For instance, while a raised hypertrophic scar can be treated using surgical revision, the option is generally not recommended for keloid scars. Steroid injection and radiotherapy (for recurring scars) would make for better choices.
Your doctor or surgeon will be able to advice you accordingly.