Whether it’s for heavy vaginal bleeding, uncomfortable uterine fibroids, among other things; some of my 40-60 year old women are facing the possibility of hysterectomy and come to ask me: What can I expect?
While I am not a surgeon, primary care doctors can help you deal with what to expect. Here are the common questions I am asked:
1. Can I have a hysterectomy laparoscopically? Sure, well maybe. Laparoscopic surgery is an alternative to open surgery. A laparoscopic hysterectomy has a shorter recovery time, and less discomfort so it allows you to return to normal activities and recover faster.
2. Is Laparoscopic better than an Abdominal (Open) hysterectomy? Laparoscopic hysterectomy takes longer to perform than abdominal hysterectomy, but is associated with less postoperative pain, a shorter length of hospitalization (three versus four days,) quicker recovery, and better quality of life six weeks post-operative. So yes it is.
3. Can I have a vaginal hysterectomy? This is when the uterus is removed through the vagina. A vaginal hysterectomy CAN’T be performed; if there is a suspicious mass that is high risk for cancer, a known cancer, known pelvic adhesions, a very enlarged uterus, or if there is difficultly positioning the patient for vaginal access (i.e. severe arthritis.)
4. Is laparoscopic better than a vaginal hysterectomy? Total laparoscopic hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy appear to have similar outcomes, with some slight advantages for the laparoscopic approach
5. What about the Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy? Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy has become of great interest as another mode of minimally invasive surgery. Robotic surgery has higher costs and similar outcomes than laparoscopic surgery. There are limited advantages of robotic over conventional laparoscopic surgery.
6. Should I have the surgeon leave my cervix? This is called a supracervical hysterectomy. There are no proven medical or surgical benefits of performing supracervical hysterectomy if the cervix can be easily removed.
7. Will I feel better after hysterectomy? Most women report relief of symptoms, improved quality of life, no adverse effect on sexual function, and satisfaction with their surgery.
8. What to expect after laparoscopic hysterectomy The incisions are small (usually less than one-half inch,) so there is minimal discomfort following the procedure. You may spend the night or go home that day. Try to have someone with you the first 3 to 5 days after you go home, and then have someone home with you for a week or two, to help with the household activities.
What did I miss?
- Dr. O.
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