Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

What you should know

Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy (RH) is surgery done through small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen. RH uses a machine controlled by your surgeon. The machine has robotic (mechanical) arms that use small tools to remove your uterus and cervix. Your ovaries, fallopian tubes, top of your vagina, supporting tissues, and some lymph nodes may also be removed. After RH, you will not be able to become pregnant. You will go through menopause if your ovaries are removed.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • During RH, you may bleed too much or get an infection. Your bladder, ureters (tubes that drain urine from your body) or intestines could be cut during surgery. After RH, you may have problems urinating for a while. Your stitches may come apart. You can develop a hernia or abscess (deep infection). Larger than expected cuts in your abdomen may be needed, and you will need more time to recover.

  • Sometimes openings (fistulas) form between the bladder and vagina. Long-term problems with urination may happen if nerves are damaged. You may need more surgery to treat these problems. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. This problem can be life-threatening. If you have cancer, it may come back, even after surgery. If you do not have the hysterectomy, your signs and symptoms could get worse. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your care.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • Tell your caregiver if you have had bleeding problems in the past.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • You may need tests before surgery, such as blood tests and a chest x-ray. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Bowel cleansing: You may be given medicine to drink or an enema. An enema puts liquid inside your rectum to help empty it of stool.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will have monitors to check your heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing. An IV will be placed in your vein to give you medicine and liquids. You may be given antibiotic medicine to help prevent infection and blood-thinning medicine to help prevent blood clots. You will receive general anesthesia to keep you asleep during your surgery. Caregivers will put a catheter into your bladder to drain your urine during and after surgery.

  • The machine that your caregivers use during RH has robotic (mechanical) arms. The arms place a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a light and camera on the end) and other tools inside your abdomen through small cuts. A gas called carbon dioxide is pumped into your abdomen to help caregivers see better. Your caregiver uses the machine to look inside your abdomen, guide the robotic arms, and use the tools to remove the uterus, cervix, or other tissues.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a recovery room where caregivers watch you until you are alert. You will then be taken to your room. You will have bandages over your incisions help prevent infection. You will need to wear a sanitary pad after surgery. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay.

Waiting area:

This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot be at your surgery on time.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy (Precare)

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