Hysterectomy Procedure – What to Expect
Your physician has recommended that you have a hysterectomy. So, what is a hysterectomy and what does it mean for you?
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus.
There are two different types of hysterectomy procedures. The first type is a partial hysterectomy, which removes the uterus and keeps the nearby organs intact. The second type, total hysterectomy, removes the uterus as well as the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
This procedure can be used to treat fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, adenomyosis, abnormal bleeding and more.
You and your surgeon will decide what type of hysterectomy you will have based on your specific needs.
Preparing for Surgery
Preoperative testing. The week before your hysterectomy surgery, you must complete general preoperative testing to assess your fitness for surgery. This may include blood and urine testing and an EKG (electrocardiogram) to assess your overall heart health.
One to two days before your surgery, a nurse will call you to review your medical history and preoperative instructions.
Medications. You and your physician will review any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take, including vitamins and supplements. Prior to surgery, you may need to temporarily stop taking some medications, such as aspirin and blood thinners.
COVID-19. You’ll be asked about your status regarding COVID-19, including whether you currently have or had the virus and your exposure to anyone with the virus.
CIGC follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, state departments of health and leading medical associations to maintain the safest environment possible. We adhere to COVID-19 protocols such as screening for cold or flu symptoms; requiring face masks and 6-foot social distancing; scheduling fewer patients; and frequently cleaning and sanitizing the facility and equipment. Your risk is further reduced because we perform our procedures in an outpatient surgery center, allowing you to return home the same day.
Preparing for arrival. You’ll receive detailed, written information about steps to take the night before and the day of your procedure. Some of your instructions include bathing or showering with a special antimicrobial soap, not eating anything after midnight and wearing loose-fitting clothes without tight waistbands.
The Day of Your Procedure
After check-in, you will change into a surgical gown and secure your belongings, then have your temperature and blood pressure checked. Other brief tests to make sure you are fit for surgery may be done as well.
A nurse will then prepare you for hysterectomy and place an IV line for administering intravenous medications and fluids.
During the Procedure
You and your physician will have discussed beforehand which kind of anesthesia is best for you. The anesthesiologist will explain the process, too, along with possible side effects.
- General anesthesia renders you fully unconscious.
- Regional anesthesia is localized to the surgical area. Our surgeons use this option whenever possible for faster recovery and fewer side effects.
Time in surgery
The length of your procedure, and thus how long you will be under anesthesia, depends on several factors. A hysterectomy at CIGC typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
Methods of surgery
For hysterectomies, CIGC recommends DualPortGYN®, also known as laparoscopic retroperitoneal hysterectomy. It’s a superior technique that maximizes patient safety, minimizes post-surgical discomfort, takes less time to perform and has better outcomes for patients compared to other methods.
After the Procedure
Although certain hysterectomy methods may require a hospital stay, patients having DualPortGYN procedures go home the same day.
Transportation. Due to anesthesia, you cannot drive yourself home or take other transportation unaccompanied. Make arrangements well ahead of time with a responsible adult who can take you home.
Side effects and recovery. The most common, temporary side effects are minor incision pain and bloating. We advise all hysterectomy patients to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for two weeks. Light exercise and walking are encouraged as soon as you feel ready.