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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about a vaginal hysterectomy?
A vaginal hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus through your vagina. Other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes, may also be removed.
How do I prepare for a vaginal 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 your 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 vaginal 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 an incision in the area where your vagina and cervix (the opening to your uterus) meet. He or she will tie the blood vessels that go to your uterus to help decrease bleeding. He or she will then cut and tie the ligaments that hold your uterus in place.
- Your surgeon will remove your uterus through your vagina. He or she may also remove your cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Your surgeon may also remove tissue surrounding your uterus. Any incisions that were made will be closed with absorbable stitches. A vaginal pack or sanitary pad may be used to absorb bleeding. A vaginal pack is a special gauze that is inserted into the vagina.
What will happen after a vaginal hysterectomy?
You may have a catheter to help drain your bladder for up to 24 hours. 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 need to stay in the hospital after surgery.
What are the risks of a vaginal hysterectomy?
- The surgeon may need to change the type of surgery he or she was planning to do. For example, he or she may need to change to an open abdominal surgery. You will not be able to become pregnant after you have a hysterectomy. You will go through menopause if your ovaries are removed.
- 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 take it away completely. There is also a chance that the cancer may return. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.
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