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Uterine Fibroid Removal: What to Expect

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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

  • Most patients can go home the same day. In some cases, an overnight stay may be required.
  • If you have laparoscopy, 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 for a few weeks.
  • Do not resume sexual intercourse until your doctor says it is OK.
  • Full recovery takes about four to six weeks to allow for internal healing.

Uterine Fibroid Removal Q&A

What does fibroid tumor removal involve?

If the patient has a fibroid tumor removed using laparoscopy, the gynecologist will make tiny incisions. A small camera inserted into one of the incisions magnifies the region on a TV screen. This guides the gynecologist to the fibroids where surgical instruments are used remove the fibroids.

If the patient has fibroids removed using a hysteroscope, there are no external cuts. A long, thin lighted tube is inserted into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. The gynecologist removes fibroids using a tool inserted through the hysteroscope.

How many incisions are made?

In the laparoscopic procedure, 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.

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, check with the doctor before returning to work.

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 fibroids or history of prior surgery that has left scar tissue, making visualization of organs with the camera more difficult. If the fibroids are extremely large, the physician may recommend an open procedure.