While they may sound familiar, a hysterectomy and a hysteroscopy are NOT the same procedure.
Not even close.
When it comes to your health and wellbeing, it’s always best to be informed. Both of these procedures are common, so we’re going to break down the differences between a hysterectomy and a hysteroscopy.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a well-known procedure for most women that involves removing all or part of the uterus and the cervix. While a hysterectomy is a very common procedure, it’s also a major surgery that requires a short hospital stay (usually 1-4 days) and several weeks of recovery at home.
Hysterectomies are typically done when women have issues such as endometriosis, uterine prolapse, cancer (uterine or cervical), uterine fibroids or excessive bleeding. There’s a very high success rate with a hysterectomy completely alleviating a woman’s symptoms, so it continues to be a good option for many women, depending on their age and situation.
Also, depending on the woman and the circumstances, a less invasive options like a laparoscopic hysterectomy or robotic procedure may be performed. These types of hysterectomies require a much shorter recovery time and usually have fewer complications, but are still considered major surgery.
What is a hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy, on the other hand, is not as familiar and is sometimes confused with a hysterectomy because they sound so similar. A hysteroscopy, however, is more of an exploratory surgery to find out what may be causing a woman’s pain, bleeding, etc. If a cause is found, it can sometimes be fixed during the same procedure.
Hysteroscopies are done as outpatient procedures because the doctor simply inserts a scope into the uterus through the cervix, rather than making any incisions. There may be some minor bleeding for a couple of days, but patients are discharged the same day. Hysteroscopies are considered a minimally invasive procedure.
Hysterectomy vs. Hysteroscopy: What do you need?
Depending on your symptoms and age, a less invasive procedure like a hysteroscopy may be a good place to start and is often more affordable. Hysteroscopies take care of smaller issues like endometrial ablation and removing uterine fibroids, but they cannot resolve bigger problems.
If you’re struggling with pain or excessive bleeding, talk with your doctor right away to figure out the best course of treatment for you.