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Toni Braxton broke Instagram when she posted a photo of her hysterectomy scars over the weekend. The mother-of-2 is seen in her bathroom mirror, wearing a skimpy jersey and black panties. The 51-year-old pop singer captioned the image:

"Embracing my WHOLE body...hysterectomy scars and all...@orangetheory making me feel 29 again! [eye] love me some me!"

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, aka the womb, for medical or cosmetic reasons. The uterus is part of the biological woman's reproductive system. It is where a baby grows when a female is pregnant.

Why is a hysterectomy performed?

A hysterectomy is performed for medical reasons when a woman's quality of life is affected by cancer or painful medical disorders such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

Painful medical conditions that may result in a hysterectomy include:

  • Chronic vaginal bleeding
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the ovaries
  • Fibroids
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Uterine prolapse (when uterus drops into vagina)
  • Endometriosis (painful condition when lining grows outside uterus)
  • Adenomyosis (uterus lining grows into the uterus muscles)
  • What are the types of hysterectomies?

    1. Partial hysterectomy
    When the surgeon removes a part of the uterus but leaves the cervix intact.

    2. Total hysterectomy
    The surgeon removes all of the uterus, including the cervix. Women who have undergone total hysterectomies no longer need Pap smears since the cervix is gone.

    3. Hysterectomy and Salpingo-Oophorectomy
    The surgeon removes the entire uterus, including the cervix and one or both of the ovaries and Fallopian tubes.

    How is a hysterectomy performed?

    Surgeons can remove the uterus in a variety of ways.

    Laparoscopic Hysterectomy - the surgeon inserts a long tube into small incisions below the bikini line. A tool at the end of the tube cuts up the uterus into small pieces and the pieces are suctioned through the tube. Recovery time is about 1-2 weeks. This appears to be the surgery Braxton had done based on the small scars.

    Abdominal Hysterectomy - the surgeon removes the uterus through a large gaping incision in the abdomen above or below the bikini line. This was once considered major surgery. Down time is longer than a laparoscopic hysterectomy, and the pain is more intense.

    Vaginal Hysterectomy - when your uterus is removed through an incision in your vagina. Most women decline this option.

    What are the risks of hysterectomy?

    Risks are rare, but every surgery carries risks from blood clots to serious infections. Follow-up with your doctor is important, as are following post-op instructions and taking all medications on time.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    More Info On the Web

    Hysterectomy: Purpose, Procedure, and Risks | Healthline.com

    Hysterectomy | Womenshealth.gov

    Hysterectomy, Endometriosis, Fibroids | MedlinePlus
     

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