While you were in the hospital, you had surgery to remove part or all of your uterus. This is called a hysterectomy. The surgeon made a 5- to 7-inch incision (cut) in the lower part of your belly. The cut was made either up and down or across (a bikini cut), just above your pubic hair. You may have also had:
Most people spend 2 to 5 days in the hospital after this surgery.
It may take at least 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel better after your surgery. You may get tired easily during this time. You may not feel like eating much.
After your wound heals, you will have a 4- to 6-inch scar.
If you had good sexual function before the surgery, you should continue to have good sexual function afterward. If you had problems with severe bleeding before your hysterectomy, sexual function often improves after surgery. If sexual function decreases after your hysterectomy, talk with your health care provider about possible causes and treatments.
Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital after your surgery. Do NOT drive yourself home.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 4 to 8 weeks. Before then:
Do NOT have sexual intercourse until you have had a checkup with your doctor after surgery.
To manage your pain:
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering.
Change the dressing over your incision once a day, or sooner if it gets dirty or wet.
You may remove your wound dressings (bandages) and take showers if sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin. Do NOT go swimming or soak in a bathtub or hot tub until your doctor tells you it is okay.
If tape strips were used to close your incision, cover them with plastic wrap before showering for the first week. Do NOT try to wash off the tape strips. They should fall off in about a week. If they are still there after 10 days, you can remove them, unless your doctor tells you not to.
Try eating smaller meals than normal and have healthy snacks in between. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink 8 cups of water a day to keep from getting constipated.
If your ovaries were removed, talk with your doctor about treatment for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Abdominal hysterectomy - discharge; Supracervical hysterectomy - discharge; Radical hysterectomy - discharge; Removal of the uterus - discharge
Cohen SL, Einarsson JI. Total and supracervical hysterectomy. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. Dec 2011;38(4): 651-661.
Jones, HW. Gynecologic surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 71.
Kives S, Lefebvre G, Wolfman W, et al. Supracervical hysterectomy. J Obstet Gynecol Can. Jan 2010;32(1):62-68.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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