(Surgical Removal of the Uterus [or Womb]; Abdominal Hysterectomy)
- Supracervical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus only
- Total hysterectomy—removal of the uterus and cervix (the opening of the uterus leading to the vagina)
- Radical hysterectomy—removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, upper part of the vagina, and the pelvic lymph nodes
- Salpingo-oophorectomy —removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (may be combined with any of the above procedures)
Reasons for Procedure
- Treat cancers (eg, uterine , endometrial, ovarian cancers)
- Remove uterine fibroids
- Treat chronic pelvic pain
- Treat heavy bleeding
- Reactions to anesthesia
- Injured pelvic organs (bowel and/or bladder)
- Urinary incontinence (problems controlling your urine)
- Loss of ovarian function and early menopause
- Sexual dysfunction
- Heart or lung disease
- Previous pelvic surgery or serious infection
- Use of medicines during the past month
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Blood and urine tests
- Pap smear
- X-ray of abdomen and kidneys—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
- Pelvic ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to show organs in the abdomen
- Dilation and curettage (D&C)—surgical removal of tissue from the lining of the uterus
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Arrange for a ride home and for help at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
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Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- On the first night, the nurse will help you sit up and walk.
- During the next morning, the IV will be removed if you are eating and drinking well.
- You may need to wear special stockings or boots to help prevent blood clots.
- You may have a Foley catheter for a short time to help you urinate.
- To prevent infection, take proper care of the incision areas.
- Slowly increase your activities. Begin with light chores and short walks.
- During the first two weeks, rest and avoid strenuous activities, like heavy lifting.
- Ask your doctor when it is safe for you to return to work and drive.
- Ask your doctor when you will be able to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables .
Pain medicines can cause
. To avoid constipation:
- Eat high-fiber foods .
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use stool softeners if needed.
- Ask your doctor when you can use tampons.
- Wait six weeks before resuming sexual activity.
- Ask your doctor if you should do Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- Follow your doctor's instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, leakage, or any discharge from the incision sites
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizziness or fainting
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Swelling, redness, or pain in your leg
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org/
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/
Canadian Medical Association http://www.cma.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Hysterectomy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq008.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120815T1040007858 . Published August 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
Hysterectomy. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System website. Available at: http://www.stfrancishealth.org/our-services-surgical-care-surgical-procedures-hysterectomy.html . Accessed August 16, 2012.
Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. Shawnee Mission Medical Center website. Available at: http://videocenter.shawneemission.org/videos/laparoscopic-supracervical-hysterectomy . Accessed August 16, 2012.
McCoy K. Robot-assisted laparoscopic procedures. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 30, 2011. Accessed August 16, 2012.
The treatment: robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy. UC Davis Health System website. Available at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/obgyn/specialties/robotic%5Fsurgery/hysterectomy.html . Accessed August 16, 2012.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -