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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus. Your ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, or part of your vagina may also need to be removed. The organs and tissue that will be removed depends on your medical condition.
How do I prepare for a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. You will need to stop taking aspirin 7 to 10 days before your procedure. You will need to stop taking NSAIDs 3 days before you procedure. You will also need to stop taking certain herbal supplements 7 days before your procedure. These include garlic, gingko biloba, and ginseng. Your provider may tell you to shower the night before your surgery. He or she may tell you to use a certain soap to help prevent a surgical site infection. Your provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You will be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after surgery.
What will happen during a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
- You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given regional anesthesia to numb the lower part of your body. Your surgeon will make several small incisions in your abdomen. He or she will place a laparoscope and other tools into your abdomen through these incisions. A laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and camera on the end. Your abdomen will be filled with a gas to allow your surgeon to see inside your abdomen more clearly. For a robot-assisted hysterectomy, your surgeon will use a robotic machine to help him or her do the surgery.
- Your surgeon will remove your uterus. He or she may also remove other organs or tissue such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, lymph nodes, or part of your vagina. Your incisions will be closed with stitches, staples, surgical glue, or surgical tape. The incisions may be covered with a bandage. A vaginal pack or sanitary pad may be used to absorb the bleeding. A vaginal pack is a special gauze that is inserted into the vagina. It is removed before you go home or to a hospital room.
What will happen after a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
You may have a catheter to help drain your bladder for up to 24 hours. You may have pain in your shoulders or ribs from the gas put into your abdomen. You will have pain for the first few days after surgery. You will need to wear sanitary pads for vaginal bleeding that occurs after surgery. You will be asked to walk as soon as possible after surgery. This will help to prevent blood clots in your legs. You may be able to go home on the day of surgery.
What are the risks of a laparoscopic hysterectomy?
- The surgeon may need to change from a laparoscopic surgery to an open abdominal surgery. You will not be able to become pregnant after you have a hysterectomy. If your ovaries are removed during surgery, you will go through menopause. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your bladder, ureters, or bowels may be damaged during surgery. If your ureters were injured, you may need a catheter to drain your bladder for several days to weeks.
- You may get scar tissue in your abdomen that blocks your intestine or causes pelvic pain. If you have a hysterectomy to treat cancer, this surgery may not remove all of the cancer. You may get a blood clot in your leg, arm, or lungs. This may become life-threatening.
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