What is an abdominal hysterectomy?
Abdominal hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. This is done through a cut in the lower belly. The cut is called an incision. The ovaries and fallopian tubes also may be removed.
The doctor may make a horizontal incision. This cut goes from side-to-side and is done at the pubic hairline. Or the incision may be vertical. This type goes up and down between the belly button and the pubic bone. Both types leave a scar that most often fades with time.
You may stay in the hospital for about 1 to 4 days after surgery. You will likely feel better each day. But you may need about 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.
After the surgery, you will not have periods or be able to get pregnant. Most people can have sex without problems after they recover.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery center
Bring a picture ID.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
The surgery takes about 1 to 2 hours.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter E616 in the search box to learn more about "Abdominal Hysterectomy: Before Your Surgery".
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine