Having a hysterectomy can be a scary thought, especially if you aren’t sure what the recovery will be like. As with any kind of surgical procedure, the recovery varies depending on the person. No two women’s bodies are the same. This particular surgical operation is done to remove the uterus, also known as the womb, the organ crucial to the act of reproduction.
After you’ve gone through a hysterectomy, you will no longer menstruate, nor have the ability to become pregnant.
There are many reasons why a doctor may suggest a woman undergoes a hysterectomy, including things like chronic pelvic pain, uncontrollable vaginal bleeding, fibroids or cancer of the uterus, cervix or ovaries.
Recovery time can vary depending on the person, the reason, and even the method of surgery. There are three kinds of hysterectomies, all of which require a general or regional anesthetic. An abdominal hysterectomy is when the doctor removes your uterus through a cut made in the abdomen. Your doctor may suggest this method if your uterus is very large or you have many adhesions from several prior surgeries. In general it requires a longer recovery time.
A vaginal hysterectomy is when your uterus is removed through an incision made inside the vagina. You will not have any incisions on the abdomen. Usually your hospital stay will be shorter and your return to normal activities will be quicker with this approach than with an abdominal hysterectomy. Not all women are able to have a vaginal hysterectomy but it is the first choice if your circumstances allow.
A laparoscopic or robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy is when the doctor uses a laparoscope, which is a long, thin tube with a light and a camera at the front of it. It’s inserted through a small incision made in the abdomen. Then a few small ( about a half an inch long) incisions are made in the lower belly for additional surgical instruments. Using the camera to find the uterus, the doctor will then remove the uterus.
If you have had an abdominal hysterectomy, you may need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. While you are in the hospital, your doctor will ask you to walk around the hospital as soon as you can — this helps to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. The recovery period does not end once you’ve returned home though. For this type of surgery, recovery typically lasts 6 weeks. Worried about a visible scar? Don’t be. Incisions made during this surgery are usually made low in the belly along the natural skin folds to minimize the appearance.
If the procedure was less invasive, i.e., vaginal or laparoscopic-assisted an overnight hospital stay may not be necessary. Women who have had these kinds of surgeries can go home sooner after the procedure, and the recovery time is much quicker, sometimes only about two weeks.
During your recovery period, it is recommended that you do not do any kind of heavy lifting or pushing/pulling of any items (i.e., a vacuum cleaning), do not have sexual intercourse for at least 6 weeks, do not put anything (including tampons) into your vagina, and continue to walk as much as possible. Take walks outside or around the house to keep the blood circulating in your legs.
Are you are thinking about having a hysterectomy or have one scheduled, and have questions or concerns? Dr. Ghea is the top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale, for you to meet with. She can speak with you at length about the procedure, risks, benefits, and of course, give you her best women’s health tips to follow during recovery period following the surgery.
If you are looking for an OBGYN in Plantation, make an appointment with Dr. Ghea at Westside OBGYN Group, a Plantation OBGYN office, by calling 954-473-2011.