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What are the risks and potential complications of a hysterectomy?

As will all surgeries, a hysterectomy involves risks and the possibility of complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can occur during surgery or recovery.

General risks of surgery

The general risks of surgery include:

  • Anesthesia reaction, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing

  • Bleeding or hemorrhage (heavy bleeding), which can lead to shock

  • Blood clot, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can move to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.

  • Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood

Potential complications of a hysterectomy

Complications of a hysterectomy can be serious and include:

  • Damage to your urinary tract, bladder, rectum, or other pelvic structures during surgery, which may lead to problems, such as urinary or fecal incontinence, and require further surgical repair

  • Early onset of menopause if both ovaries are removed

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery

  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage

  • Taking your medications exactly as directed

  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 29, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Hysterectomy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp008.cfm
  2. Hysterectomy. Womenshealth.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/hysterectomy.cfm.
  3. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf

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