Hysterectomy - laparoscopic - discharge
You were in the hospital to have surgery to remove your uterus. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also have been removed. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a small camera on it) inserted through small cuts in your belly was used for the operation.
Hysterectomy - Animation
The female reproductive system is a very complex system. And as with any system, occasionally, things go wrong. When treatments and therapies can't fix an issue, sometimes surgery is required. Surgery to remove a woman's uterus or womb, a major component of this system, is called hysterectomy. Let's talk about this procedure. There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy cancer of the uterus, usually endometrial cancer; cancer of the cervix; childbirth complications, such as uncontrolled bleeding; other long-term vaginal bleeding problems; long-term pelvic pain. Other reasons include severe endometriosis, including growths outside the uterus; slipping of the uterus into the vagina and perhaps tumors in the uterus, such as uterine fibroids. During a hysterectomy, your doctor may remove the entire uterus or just part of it. The fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus, and the ovaries themselves may also be removed. There are several different ways to perform a hysterectomy. It may be done through a surgical cut in either the belly or vagina. It may be done using laparoscopy, using a camera and smaller incisions, or it may be performed using robotic surgery. Your doctor will help you decide which type of procedure is best for you. After surgery, you will receive pain medications to relieve discomfort. You may also have a tube, called a catheter, inserted into your bladder for a day or two to pass urine. You will be asked to get up and move around as soon as possible after surgery; this helps prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and speeds up recovery. How long you stay in the hospital depends on the type of hysterectomy. If you have a robot-assisted hysterectomy, you will likely go home the next day. Most women who have a hysterectomy, however, will stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days, maybe even longer if you have a hysterectomy due to cancer. Recovery may take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the type of hysterectomy you have. A hysterectomy will cause menopause if you also have your ovaries removed. Removal of the ovaries can also lead to a decreased sex drive. Your doctor, then, may recommend estrogen replacement therapy. There is some good news. Removing the problematic organs should keep you from having problems in this area again.
When You're in the Hospital
While you were in the hospital, you had surgery to remove your uterus. This is called a hysterectomy. The surgeon made 3 to 5 small cuts in your belly. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a small camera on it) and other small surgical tools were inserted through those incisions.
Part or all of your uterus was removed. Your fallopian tubes or ovaries may have also been taken out.
You probably spent 1 day in the hospital.
Hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in inability to become pregnant. This surgery may be done for a variety of reasons including, but not restricted to, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids and cancer. A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal or a vaginal incision.
What to Expect at Home
It may take at least 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel completely better after your surgery. The first two weeks are most often the hardest. You may need to take pain medicine regularly.
Most people are able to stop taking pain medicine and increase their activity level after two weeks. Most people are able to perform more normal activities at this point, after two weeks such as desk work, office work, and light walking. In most cases, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for energy levels to return to normal.
If you had good sexual function before the surgery, you should continue to have good sexual function after you have completely healed. If you had problems with severe bleeding before your hysterectomy, sexual function often improves after surgery. If you have a decrease in your sexual function after your hysterectomy, talk with your health care provider about possible causes and treatments.
Start walking after surgery. Begin your everyday activities as soon as you feel up to it. Do not jog, do sit-ups, or play sports until you have checked with your provider.
Move around the house, shower, and use the stairs at home during the first week. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.
Ask your provider about driving. You may be able to drive after 2 or 3 days if you are not taking narcotic pain drugs.
You may lift 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms (about the weight of a gallon or 4 liters of milk) or less. Do not do any heavy lifting or straining for the first 3 weeks. You may be able to go back to a desk job within a couple of weeks. But, you may still get tired more easily at this time.
Do not put anything into your vagina for the first 8 to 12 weeks. This includes douching and tampons.
Do not have sexual intercourse for at least 12 weeks, and only after your provider says it is ok. Resuming intercourse sooner than that could lead to complications.
If sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin, you may remove your wound dressings (bandages) and take a shower the day after surgery.
If tape strips were used to close your skin, they should fall off on their own in about a week. If they are still in place after 10 days, remove them unless your doctor tells you not to.
Do not go swimming or soak in a bathtub or hot tub until your provider tells you it is ok.
Try eating smaller meals than normal. Eat healthy snacks in between meals. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink at least 8 cups (2 liters) of water a day to keep from getting constipated.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
- You have a fever above 100.5°F (38°C).
- Your surgical wound is bleeding, is red and warm to touch, or has thick, yellow, or green drainage.
- Your pain medicine is not helping your pain.
- It is hard to breathe.
- You have a cough that does not go away.
- You cannot drink or eat.
- You have nausea or vomiting.
- You are unable to pass any gas or have a bowel movement.
- You have pain or burning when you urinate, or you are unable to urinate.
- You have a discharge from your vagina that has a bad odor.
- You have bleeding from your vagina that is heavier than light spotting.
- You have a heavy, watery discharge from the vagina.
- You have swelling or redness in one of your legs.
John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Frequently asked questions, FAQ008, special procedures: hysterectomy. www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy. Updated January 2021. Accessed June 14, 2021.
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Michener CM, Falcone T. Laparoscopic hysterectomy. In: Baggish MS, Karram MM, eds. Atlas of Pelvic Anatomy and Gynecologic Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 114.
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