For the best experience after a hysterectomy, it's important to discuss with your Ob/Gyn all your options for the type of surgery you will have. Physicians at Baptist Medical Center offer a complete range of procedures, and the best one for you will depend on a number of factors, including the reason for your surgery. All OB/Gyns on staff at Baptist are board certified, skilled physicians, experienced in surgical procedures for women.
For a good overview of hysterectomy, it's helpful to think about two aspects of the surgery:
In general, a hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. A "total" or "complete" hysterectomy includes the uterus and cervix. A "partial" hysterectomy, also called a supracervical hysterectomy, leaves the cervix intact.
While not all women choose to do so, the fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed at the time the hysterectomy is performed. This procedure, called a bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, will trigger immediate menopause in women who are still having periods at the time of surgery. Before surgery, your physician may discuss with you options for hormone replacement therapy to manage symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
In an abdominal or open hysterectomy, the surgeon makes an incision averaging 6 to 7 inches long. This allows the physician to view the internal organs directly. Physicians may recommend open surgery for patients who have some type of gynecological cancer because it allows them to check adjacent tissue for the presence of cancer. Open surgery may also be recommended for large fibroid tumors. Surgery time varies depending on the individual, but on average it takes one to two hours.
In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, physicians use specialized equipment that requires only four or five incision about half an inch long. Through these small incisions, they insert instruments that allow them to perform the surgery. Physicians view the surgical area on a monitor using images from a tiny camera that's inserted into the abdomen. This type of surgery may be a good option for women with benign conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Again, the surgical time varies, but the average laparoscopic procedure lasts one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours.
During a laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy, surgeons remove the uterus through the vagina as opposed through an incision in the abdomen.
Robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy may be the best option for women with benign conditions that require more complex procedures. For example, women with fibroids too large to be removed with traditional laparoscopy, or with endometriosis and adhesions, may be candidates for robot-assisted laparoscopy. Learn more about this surgery on our Robotic Hysterectomy page
How long you'll stay in the hospital depends on the type of surgery you have. Most women who have an abdominal hysterectomy can expect to spend two to three nights in the hospital. The average recovery time is six to eight weeks for a full return to work and normal activities.
Most women who have a laparoscopic or robot-assisted laparoscopic procedure can expect to spend one night in the hospital and go home the following day. Average recovery time is about four weeks for a full return to work and normal activities.
While you are in the hospital, your physician will typically manage your pain initially with IV pain medication, and move you to oral medications as soon as your pain level permits. If your ovaries were removed, your physician may also begin hormone replacement therapy right away.
Normally, after surgery your physician will want you to get up and start walking as soon as possible to increase circulation and decrease your risk of blood clots. Some patients may go home with a catheter. After surgery, bowel activity usually resumes with passing gas. A bowel movement is typical two to three days after surgery. Your physician may prescribe a stool softener to aid in bowel recovery. You should keep the surgical incision clean and dry.
Your physician will discuss with you what symptoms of possible complications to watch for during recovery at home. Generally, call your physician if you experience:
Post hysterectomy bleeding can be unpredictable. It can last up to six weeks after surgery, but should taper off over time.
As you recover, keep in mind that you will still need to see your physician for an annual physical, including a Pap smear if you still have your cervix.
Most hysterectomies at Baptist are performed in the Center for Surgery at Baptist for Women. This state-of-the art facility is located on the ground floor of Baptist for Women with immediately available parking and patient pick up at the door. Learn more about the Center for Surgery
If you don't have an Ob/Gyn, professionals at the Baptist Health Line can provide you with a referral to a physician on staff at Baptist. This is a free service. To request a referral, use our online form. Or if you need to speak to someone, call 601-948-6262 or 1-800-948-6262.Request a physician referral online
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