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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Laparoscopic hysterectomy (LH) is surgery to remove your uterus only (partial hysterectomy), or your uterus and cervix (total hysterectomy). Other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes, may also be removed.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Bowel cleansing may be needed. You may be given medicine to drink or an enema that will empty your bowel. An enema is liquid that is put into your rectum.
- A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
- Antibiotics help prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
During your surgery:
One or more small incisions will be made in your abdomen. Your surgeon will put a laparoscope and other tools into your abdomen through the incisions. The laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and camera on the end. Your abdomen will be filled with a gas called carbon dioxide. This allows your surgeon to see inside your abdomen. Your uterus will be cut free from your abdomen so it can be removed. Your cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and lymph nodes may also be removed. These structures will be removed through the incisions in your abdomen or through your vagina. The incisions will be closed with stitches.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. Bandages on your incisions help prevent infection. You will need to wear a sanitary pad after surgery. Change the pad often to prevent infection. Caregivers will check your bandages and sanitary pad for bleeding.
- Drains are thin rubber tubes put into your skin to drain fluid from around your incision. The drains are taken out when the incision stops draining.
- You may need to wear pressure stockings or inflatable boots after surgery. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. Both of these improve blood flow and help prevent clots.
- Deep breathing and coughing will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath. Then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
- You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
- Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They will also record how much you are urinating.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have damage to your bladder, ureters, or bowels. The surgeon may need to make larger incisions in your abdomen than expected. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening. After this surgery, you will not be able to become pregnant. You will go through menopause if your ovaries are removed.
- You may have vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, or problems urinating for a time after surgery. You may get scar tissue in your abdomen that blocks your intestine or causes pelvic pain. If you had a partial hysterectomy, you will need to have regular Pap tests to check for cancer cells in your cervix. If you have cancer, this surgery may not take it away completely, or the cancer may return. If you do not have the hysterectomy, your signs and symptoms could get worse.
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.
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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.