Hysterectomy

Diagnosis of hysterectomy

Your hysterectomy will be performed in one of our hospitals, and you will be under general anesthesia (medication that puts you into a deep sleep).

Your experience will depend on what organs are removed during your hysterectomy, and how your hysterectomy is performed:

  • Partial hysterectomy: During a partial hysterectomy (also call subtotal hysterectomy), the uterus is removed, but the cervix remains.
  • Total hysterectomy: During a total hysterectomy, the uterus and cervix are removed.
  • Oophorectomy: During a hysterectomy, the ovaries may also be removed. This is called oophorectomy.

Preparation

As you prepare to undergo a hysterectomy or hysterectomy and oophorectomy, there are a few steps to take to make everything go as smoothly as possible. For example:

  • Ask your doctor any questions you have about the procedure and recovery. Make sure you fully understand the procedure, and any potential alternative treatments, before deciding whether a hysterectomy is the right choice for you.
  • Tell your surgeon about your current health, such as any allergies, your current medications, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, any previous surgeries, and any existing health conditions or illnesses.
  • If you are undergoing a hysterectomy in a non-emergency setting or as an elective procedure to reduce pain, speak with your doctor about lifestyle changes, which may make the surgery go more smoothly. Quitting smoking or losing weight before surgery may help, as the healthier you are, the easier and faster your recovery will be.

Hysterectomy is typically an in-patient procedure done under general anesthesia, meaning you will be asleep for the surgery. Depending on the approach your doctor takes, the procedure will take up to a few hours to complete. Then you will recover in the hospital until your anesthesia wears off and your doctor clears you to return home.

Recovery

Many women notice significant pain relief following a hysterectomy and find that they can enjoy activities they couldn’t before the procedure.

Like any surgery, hysterectomies can require some rest and recovery time.

Immediately after the surgery, you will still have a tube in your bladder to drain urine. This tube will be removed as soon as possible. You will be given pain medication as needed, and hospital staff will encourage you to walk often, since walking after surgery helps decrease the risk of blood clots. You may go home the day after surgery or stay in the hospital for a few days.

Your recovery time will depend on what type of hysterectomy you had. Recovery from vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy is usually quicker than recovery from a traditional hysterectomy.

Depending on the surgical approach your surgeon takes, your doctor may recommend that you take some time off from activities like swimming, sex, and bathing until your sutures are removed.

Full recovery after hysterectomy takes approximately six weeks. Your doctor will monitor your healing and discuss any further recommended treatment with you.

You won’t be able to get pregnant following the surgery.  If your ovaries are removed, you will be in menopause after the surgery. Talk to your doctor about whether replacement hormones are a good choice for you.

Dignity Health offers many options for hysterectomy, including laparoscopic hysterectomy. Find a Doctor near you for compassionate hysterectomy care.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.