A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, the most common form of gynecologic surgery. There are a few facts you should know about a hysterectomy before undergoing the procedure.
Different types of hysterectomy procedures are available for patients, depending on their individual condition. Pacific Women’s Center performs four different types of hysterectomies:
- Abdominal – The hysterectomy will be performed via an incision through the lower abdomen.
- Vaginal – The uterus is removed through an incision in the vagina.
- Laparoscopic/Robotic Assisted (DaVinci) – A laparoscope is used to remove the uterus through small incisions in the abdomen and will be delivered through the vagina.
- Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) – The uterus is removed through the vagina with the combination of the laparoscopic and vaginal technique.
Before the hysterectomy, a patient may undergo some procedures in preparation. Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam, blood and urine tests, and a pelvic ultrasound. General anesthesia will be given during surgery. Under general anesthesia, a patient will not be awake during the surgery.
After the hysterectomy, there are additional symptoms to consider. The procedure lasts 1 to 3 hours and is performed at the hospital. How long you stay in the hospital and the length of time it takes to recover depends in part on the type of hysterectomy you have. Your periods will completely stop after a hysterectomy. It’s common to occasionally feel bloated and have symptoms similar to when you were menstruating. It’s also common to experience light vaginal bleeding or a dark brown discharge for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
You may feel discomfort for about 4 weeks where the incision was made. Any redness, bruising, or swelling will improve within 4 to 6 weeks. A burning or itching sensation around the incision is normal. It’s possible you’ll experience a numb feeling around the incision but that generally resolves.
If the ovaries remain after the hysterectomy, minimum to no hormone-related effects should be present. If the ovaries were removed with the uterus before menopause, you may experience symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes. Your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Physicians at Pacific Women’s Center are here to help you understand what you should know about a hysterectomy before having the procedure. Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you look at your options.