What to Expect After Undergoing a Hysterectomy

vaginal, Hysterectomy, Southeast Urogyn

If you need a hysterectomy, you’re going to undergo effects from substantial abdominal surgery, and there’s also potentially greater impact on your body if you’ve not yet gone through menopause. However, your specific experience depends on a range of factors including the type of hysterectomy you have and how menopause will affect you, which is unpredictable ahead of the event.

Hysterectomy and its surgical approaches

Once done primarily as open surgery through the abdominal wall, there are a number of surgical approaches available today. Traditional abdominal surgery continues to be performed, but some surgeries can be done through the vagina, and laparoscopic and robotic techniques further minimize the effects of surgery on surrounding tissues.

Each of these methods has its own pros and cons, and your Southeast Urogyn surgeon will advise you of the best options available in your case. Your recovery process depends, in part, on the surgical approach that’s best suited to your situation.

Types of hysterectomies

There are also several types of hysterectomies, starting with the total hysterectomy, where the entire uterus is removed, including the cervix. A partial hysterectomy removes the uterus, but leaves the cervix in place. A radical hysterectomy removes not only the uterus and cervix, but also the top portion of the vagina and possibly some of the tissues around the uterus. In some hysterectomy surgeries, the ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed, too. The type of hysterectomy chosen for you depends on your particular case and condition.

Hysterectomy and recovery

Vaginal hysterectomy is the least invasive procedure, meaning less impact on surrounding tissue. With a vaginal hysterectomy, no abdominal incisions are needed, and the uterus is removed through the vagina. This means a faster surgery, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker return to normal activities for you. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends vaginal hysterectomy whenever possible.

Laparoscopic surgery is the preferred alternative if vaginal hysterectomy can’t be performed. In addition, if you’re having issues with endometriosis, laparoscopic techniques permit the complete examination of the abdominal cavity. This can help your surgeon pinpoint pockets of endometrial tissue and enable their removal. Laparoscopic surgery is preferred when extensive endometriosis or pelvic adhesions are present.

Robotic assistance with laparoscopic surgery extends the capabilities of surgery, since doctor-controlled robotic arms can perform more intricate movements than hand-operated laparoscopic tools.

While more invasive than vaginal hysterectomy, laparoscopy and robot-assisted laparoscopy typically provide faster recovery times than conventional abdominal hysterectomy. This type of surgery, sometimes called “open surgery,” is done through an open incision in the lower abdomen. Generally, abdominal surgery is only chosen today when complications prevent using a less invasive approach, due to the longer hospital stay and extended recovery time you’ll experience with this technique.

What to expect afterwards

If you were suffering from pelvic pain or excessive bleeding, these symptoms should vanish after surgery. If you’re premenopausal and your ovaries were removed, you’ll enter surgical menopause. This creates a wide range of effects in women, and you’ll likely experience your own combination.

You may have an emotional response to the loss of your uterus and feel sadness that your time for bearing children is past. But a hysterectomy can also be liberating, since the related health problems are gone.

Your health care provider at Southeast Urogyn can advise you more specifically about aftercare following your hysterectomy. You’ll need to rest, take your pain medications as needed, and wear pads for any bleeding and discharge that may occur for several weeks. You’ll also have temporary limitations on activities such as heavy lifting and having sex.

Call or click today to arrange a consultation with one of our providers at our office in Jackson, Mississippi.

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