Hysterectomy Care

Learn what care is required for the Hysterectomy procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Hysterectomy Details

Alternate Names for Hysterectomy:
Surgical removal, uterus

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • X-ray of abdomen and kidneys-a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
  • Pelvic ultrasound -a test that uses sound waves to visualize organs in the abdomen
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C)-surgical removal of tissue from the lining of the uterus
  • Ask you to take enemas to clean out your intestines

You should do the following:

  • 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)
  • If instructed, take antibiotics.
  • 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.


Most of the time, general anesthesia is used-blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery; given through an IV in your hand or arm

Description of the Procedure

There are two different methods that are described here.

Open Abdominal Hysterectomy

The doctor will make a cut in your lower abdomen. This is to expose the tissue and blood vessels that surround the uterus. The tissue will then be cut. The blood vessels will be tied off. The uterus will be removed. Next, the doctor will sew the tissue back together and close the skin with stitches or staples. If the cervix is taken out with the uterus, you will also have stitches put in the back of your vagina.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

This method will not involve any outside incisions. The doctor will stretch the vagina and keep it open with special tools. He will then cut free the uterus and cervix. The connecting blood vessels will be tied off. Next, the doctor will remove the uterus and cervix through the vagina. Lastly, the doctor will close the area in the back of the vagina with stitches.

With each procedure, a vaginal "packing" is placed in the vagina. This will be removed after 1-2 days.

Immediately After Procedure

If you have other medical problems, the doctor may need to remove or repair other organs or tissue.

Your doctor will send tissue samples to the lab to be analyzed. In the recovery room, you will have IV fluids and medicines.

How Long Will It Take?

1-3 hours

Will It Hurt?

You will likely have pain, fullness, bloating, and vaginal bleeding or discharge during the first few days. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.

Average Hospital Stay
  • Open Abdominal hysterectomy: 3-5 days
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: 1-2 days

Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.

Post-procedure Care At the Hospital

While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:

  • On the first night, you may be instructed to sit up in bed and walk a short distance.
  • During the next morning, the IV will probably be removed if you are eating and drinking well.
  • You may need to wear special socks or boots to help prevent blood clots.
  • You may have a foley catheter for a short time to help you urinate.

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Follow your doctor's instructions .
  • Take proper care of the incision site. This will help to prevent an infection.
  • Take showers instead of baths. However, baths are allowed.
  • During the first two weeks, rest and avoid lifting.
  • Slowly increase your activities. Begin with light chores and short walks. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work.
  • Check with your doctor to see when it is safe to drive again.
  • To promote healing, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables . Ask your doctor if you need to take iron .
  • Try to avoid constipation by:
    • Eating high-fiber foods
    • Drinking plenty of water
    • Using stool softeners if needed
  • Ask your doctor when you can use tampons. Also ask about Kegel exercises .
  • Wait six weeks before resuming sexual activity.
  • If you still have a cervix, you will still need regular Pap smears .

Recovery from open abdominal hysterectomy usually takes 6-8 weeks. Recovery time will be quicker for other methods (eg, laparoscopic surgery ).


Learn what Hysterectomy is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Hysterectomy
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Hysterectomy Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Hysterectomy Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Hysterectomy Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Hysterectomy
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO