Once you have attended the gynecologist and received your hospital paperwork, you may set yourself on the goal of understanding every term and phrase used to explain a hysterectomy. As a recent hysterectomy patient, I know this is what I attempted to do. I was successful in the task less the simple, one letter abbreviations the doctor used to describe my hysterectomy. It was not until I did hours of research that I realized how much of myself I was really losing.
Obstetricians and gynecologists all use the same universal abbreviations for hysterectomy procedures. Here is a list of the ones I found extremely useful and insightful.
TAH stands for Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. This type of hysterectomy is performed through an incision in the abdomen with the cervix and uterus removed.
BSO is the abbreviation for Bi-Lateral Salpingo Oopherectomy. This abbreviation is added to hysterectomies where both (bi) fallopian tubes and both ovaries will be removed during the surgery.
RSO, of course, stands for Right Salpingo Oopherectomy and addresses the removal of the right ovary and right fallopian tube.
LSO is Left Salpingo Oopherectomy. The abbreviation is used when the left ovary and left fallopian tube are scheduled to be removed during the hysterectomy.
TVH is used when the doctor will perform a Total Vaginal Hysterectomy. This form of hysterectomy requires no incision and thus requires less recovery time.
LAVH stands for Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy. There will be times when a surgeon will plan to use a laparoscope to better view the uterus and other organs scheduled for removal.
LSH is the abbreviation used for Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy. When this type of hysterectomy is performed the surgeon enters the body through a small incision using a laparoscope and removes the uterus leaving the cervix in tact.
SAH is the terminology used for either a Subtotal Abdominal Hysterectomy or Supracervical Abdominal Hysterectomy. Both of these surgical procedures describe the removal of the uterus through an abdominal incision with the cervix left in tact.
HRT is the common abbreviation for Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT may include prescriptions for progesterone, estrogen, testosterone or any combination of the three.
NHRT is the natural alternative to HRT. The Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy choices will be discussed with your doctor or researched on your own. This form of HRT may include herbs and vitamins as well as natural sources of soy and plant estrogens.
When first approached with the idea of having a hysterectomy, do not be overwhelmed by the abbreviations on a piece of paper. These terms are universal and can easily be explained. The above list is by no means all inclusive, but represents the most commonly used medical terms in association with a hysterectomy.