What to Expect from Hysterectomy

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy normally only requires a 23-hour or less stay. Most patients go home the same day. In some cases, an overnight stay may be required.
  • Expect some soreness around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your energy level.
  • This surgery has a quick recovery with most patients feeling much better within the first few days after surgery.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • Most women feel better within the first week following surgery; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until after your doctor says it is OK.
  • Full recovery takes up to two weeks to allow for internal healing.

Hysterectomy Q&A

What does laparoscopic hysterectomy involve?

The surgeon makes tiny incisions – one in the navel and three in the lower abdomen. A tiny camera is inserted through the navel and guided to the uterus. This gives clear visualization of the surgical field and allows access through the other ports to remove the uterus. If the surgery is done using robotics, the gynecologist is 100 percent in control of the surgery, guiding instruments throughout the procedure.

How many incisions are made?

Four tiny incisions are made – one in the navel and three additional sites in the lower abdomen for insertion of the instruments.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will normally be able to go home the same day, but in some cases, there may be an overnight stay required.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered in one to two weeks. If a patient has a physically demanding job that requires lifting or pushing heavy objects, then three weeks recovery is recommended.

What reasons would the surgeon have to perform an open surgery instead of a minimally invasive procedure?

The gynecologist may recommend an open procedure due to the size of the uterus or history of prior surgery that has left scar tissue, making visualization of organs with the camera more difficult. If the uterus cannot be easily removed through the small incision sites, then the physician may recommend an open procedure.