Women's Services: FAQs
What is hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus: either through the vagina, or by way of an abdominal incision. The particular method used will depend
on the reason for the surgery and the findings in the pelvic exam. During your surgery, your physician may remove just the upper part of your uterus,
the entire uterus and cervix, or the uterus, its support structures, and the lymph nodes.
One, or both, of the ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed at the same time as the uterus. This is called a salpingo-oopherectomy.
A “complete” hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and both ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Certain conditions that affect the uterus can cause pain, heavy bleeding, or growths in the uterus.
- Uterine fibroids are the most common reason for hysterectomy. Fibroids are growths in the uterus that can cause heavy bleeding, pelvic
pain, and even back pain. Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous).
- Endometriosis is a condition in which cells like those lining the uterus grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other pelvic structures.
Endometriosis is the second most common reason for hysterectomy.
How do I prepare for a hysterectomy?
- Make a list of questions you wish to ask your physician before surgery.
- Prepare and freeze some meals so you won't have to worry about cooking during your recovery period.
- If you smoke, QUIT!
- You may have some tests done, such as blood and urine, EKG, or chest x-ray.
- You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
What should I bring to the hospital?
- Pack a small bag with robe, slippers, and toiletries.
- Your insurance card.
- List of medications, with exact names and dosages.
- Eyeglasses, but no contact lenses.
- Your dentures.
- Do not bring valuables, such as money or jewelry, to the hospital.
What happens the day of surgery?
- You will be asked to sign a consent for surgery.
- Your pubis and vulva may be shaved.
- You may have a douche.
- You will have an IV started through which you may receive antibiotics.
- You may be given medicine to make you feel drowsy.
- You will be taken to the operating room and your nurse will tell your loved ones where they may wait.
How will I feel after my hysterectomy?
- After you have recovered from anesthesia for a period of time, you will go to a hospital room. If you have had an abdominal hysterectomy, you
will have a dressing over your incision site. Both abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy patients will have sanitary napkins in place.
- You will probably feel some soreness in your lower abdomen. Your surgeon will have prescribed medications for discomfort; do not hesitate to
let your nurse know if you are uncomfortable.
- You may have snug stockings on your legs to promote circulation. You will be asked to breathe deeply and cough to keep your lungs clear.
What are the risks?
As with all surgery, complications may occur as a result of hysterectomy. Your surgeon will discuss with you the risks of your particular surgery,
but generally risks include blood clots in the veins, infections, bleeding, urinary tract damage, and problems related to anesthesia.
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