A Radical Hysterectomy or Wertheim's Hysterectomy is an operation performed to treat cancer affecting the uterine cervix.
The cervix is the lower one-third of the uterus or womb. When cells in the cervix grow abnormally, a tissue mass called a tumor forms. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are localized to one place and are not capable of spreading into surrounding tissues. Malignant tumors can spread or metastasize and interfere with normal tissue function.
Malignant tumor cells can spread directly into nearby tissues, through lymphatic (drainage) channels, or through the bloodstream. When cancer of the cervix spreads, it is usually by direct extension into nearby tissues, such as the uterus, or through the lymphatic system.
More tissue is removed in radical hysterectomy than in a standard hysterectomy because this surgery is designed to treat not only the malignant tumor in the cervix, but also the adjacent areas into which the tumor may have spread.
The uterus and cervix, nearby supporting tissues, the innermost part of the vagina, and pelvic lymph nodes are removed in radical hysterectomy. All tissues are examined carefully under a microscope to determine precisely the extent of the disease. The ovaries may or may not be removed at the time of surgery and this should be discussed clearly with your attending doctor when planning the surgery.
When you are referred to the Gynecological Cancer Centre (GCC) at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), your care is coordinated by one of our attending doctors. They are all specialists in gynecological oncology and staff members of the Gynaecological Oncology Unit.
Your attending doctor will review your medical history and do a physical examination. He or she will review your laboratory results, as well as pertinent past medical records.
You may be asked to have a chest X-ray and CT scan to determine if the cancer has spread to other organs. Your attending doctor will discuss the findings and alternative methods of treatment with you. Your family are welcome and encouraged to join you for any of these discussions. When all your questions are answered, admission to the hospital will be planned.
Our GCC staff as well as ward nurses are trained in caring for women with gynecological cancer. They will look after you throughout your hospitalization and recovery from surgery.
Our social worker is available to meet with you to discuss a variety of topics, including social and psychological support and financial concerns.
You will become acquainted with several doctors during your hospital stay. In addition to your attending doctor, who will perform the surgery, the resident medical offers (doctors receiving advanced training), house officers, anaesthetists, physiotherapists and medical students will comprise the team involved in your care.