A hysterectomy is a very common procedure required by many women. It is the surgical removal of the uterus which may be required due to non-cancerous tumors called fibroids, ovarian or cervical cancer, long-term pain in the pelvic region, and due to the pain and discomfort of heavy periods.
Originally this was done through open surgery, where a large incision was made to allow the surgeon access. However, due to medical advances, the procedure became laparoscopic, done through small incisions. And now, technology has evolved even further to da Vinci robot surgery.
Whilst robotic surgery is still laparoscopic, it is robot-assisted in that a computer controls the surgical instruments whilst the surgeon observes and instructs the computer from the same room. This allows the surgeon to move in very small spaces and with greater precision.
Recovery from laparoscopic procedures tends to be quicker as the incisions are smaller. Generally there are four small incisions to allow access to all the areas needed. After surgery, some pain is to be expected, but medication will be given to keep this to a minimum. Once you are drinking properly, your IV will be removed; and once you are passing gas then you can start eating again. Your catheter will be removed within a few days. It is important to start moving around as soon as possible to aid your recovery and prevent complications.
Once home, you’ll need to keep the incision areas dry and you may have sutures which will need removing. You should build up to normal levels of walking within a few days. You can expect light bleeding from the vagina for several days after going home. You must avoid any heavy lifting for a couple of weeks, and refrain from sexual intercourse for six weeks.
A complete recovery can be expected from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the individual.