A typical hysterectomy involves detaching your uterus from the ovaries, upper vagina and the fallopian tube. Any connective tissues and blood vessels are also removed to facilitate the surgery. In total hysterectomy, the lower part of your uterus is removed but it might be left in place during a partial hysterectomy.
To help avoid any confusion with the surgery, we have put together a list that tells what you should realistically expect with a hysterectomy:
Before The Procedure
Before the procedure, your surgeon may conduct tests for cancer. This is simply standard procedure. Typically, tests may include:
Endometrial Biopsy- This test detects the presence of abnormal cells in the lining of the uterine, and also helps diagnose endometrial cancer.
Cervical Cytology- This test detects the presence of cervical cancer or abnormal cervical cells.
Pelvic Ultrasound- This test shows the size of endometrial polyps, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.
The morning before your surgery, you will be instructed to shower with a soap to avoid risks of infections. A preoperative cleaning of your vagina and rectum might also be included. The doctor will also give you antibiotic medication immediately before the surgery.
During The Procedure
A hysterectomy is performed under general anaesthesia, so you won’t be awake during the surgery. The procedure is relatively short and lasts for about an hour. However, you will be spending more time in the operating room to get ready.
The procedure begins with a member of the surgical team passing a catheter through your urethra to empty your bladder. The catheter remains in place during the surgery and for a short time after it. Your vagina and abdomen are also cleaned with a sterile solution before the surgery.
The surgeon then begins with by making two incisions:
A vertical incision that stretches from the middle of your naval down to just above your pubic bone.
A horizontal bikini line incision is made just an inch above your pubic bone.
The types of incisions depend on a number of different factors like the type of hysterectomy, the size of the uterus and the presence of any scars from previous surgeries.
After The Procedure
You might have to remain in the surgery room hours after the surgery. The healthcare provider will typically:
Give you medicines to prevent pain and infections
Monitor you for signs of pain
Encourage you to walk after a few hours for proper hysterectomy recovery
While a hysterectomy typically requires you to stay at the hospital for a few days, it could be longer. You will be advised to use sanitary pads for discharges and bleeding. Let your surgeon know if you experience heavy bleeding.