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Surgery Education and Information
Once your surgical appointment has been scheduled at The Women's Health Group P.A., you will be notified of the lab work that is required. About 1-2 weeks before your surgery, you will be asked to discontinue any medications or supplements you are taking until the time of your procedure (ask your physician about discontinuing blood thinners).
We also recommend that if you smoke, you stop smoking for at least 3 days before your surgery in order to reduce your risk of postoperative pneumonia or other complications. Get in touch with us today for more details.
Preparing for Surgery
The day before your procedure you will be contacted by the anesthesia department and interviewed about your previous anesthetic experiences, medications and your health. When you arrive at the hospital, you will check in, change into a gown, review your health history and begin an IV. You will also review your anesthesia plan and be prepped for the procedure to begin.
If you are ill or need to cancel your surgery for any reason, please notify us as soon as possible so we can reschedule your surgery.
After Your Surgery
If you are having outpatient surgery, you will be permitted to leave 1-2 hours after surgery. If you are having an inpatient procedure, you will be taken to your room to recover. For a full and speedy recovery, you should eat and drink as soon as possible after surgery.
In many cases, you will be given pain medication automatically. Other times you will need to request medication. A doctor will check on you each day until you leave the hospital.
At home, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat foods with plenty of fiber. Take a stool softener until you are no longer taking pain medicine and bowel function is back to normal.
You can also take a mild laxative like Milk of Magnesia if necessary. Walking is fine but avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and sexual intercourse until allowed by your doctor. Do not drive under the influence of narcotic drugs.
Notify your provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Temperature 101 degrees or higher
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Redness, swelling, separation, or other trouble with any incision
- Severe pain in your chest or leg or abdomen
- Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy – In this operation a scope is inserted through a small incision just under the belly button and is used to start the hysterectomy, and then the remainder of the surgery is done through a vaginal incision. The uterus is removed; tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
- Vaginal Hysterectomy – The hysterectomy is done completely through a vaginal incision.
- Abdominal Hysterectomy – An incision is made either across the lower abdomen or up and down from the pelvic bone to belly button and the uterus (with or without tubes and ovaries) is removed through the incision.
- TVT-O – In this operation, a small length of mesh is threaded under your urethra to support it and prevent urinary leakage with straining.
- Diagnostic Laparoscopy or Tubal Ligation – A slender scope is inserted through a small incision under your belly button. Usually, a second and/or third tiny incision is made lower in your abdomen. This can be used to tie tubes, treat endometriosis, cysts, ectopic pregnancies, adhesions, etc.
- D&C – This procedure involves no cutting or stitching; the D stands for “dilate,” to open the cervix, and the C stands for “curette,” which means to scrape. It is used for miscarriage or sometimes to sample uterine lining in abnormal bleeding.
- Anterior and / or Posterior Repair – These procedures are used to restore support to the vaginal walls if they have relaxed, usually due to childbirth. The doctor can just use stitches or insert mesh to help support.
Although most surgeries are quite safe and carry a good outcome, any surgery, however minor, carries risk. The risks are usually divided into groups, including anesthesia, bleeding, infection, and damage to other body structures.
- Anesthesia: Modern anesthetic techniques and monitoring make anesthesia safer than ever in history. We have complete confidence in our anesthesia providers and trust that you will follow their instruction to make your anesthetic as safe as possible.
- Bleeding: Most of the time you will lose less blood in your surgery than if you donate a pint of blood at the local blood bank, but there are times in gynecological surgery where there is extra blood loss, even requiring blood product transfusion. Sometimes a stitch will come loose or dissolve too soon and, at times, this may even require a repeat trip to the operating room, although not common.
- Infection: You will be given antibiotics to prevent infection, and this usually does prevent postoperative infection, but there may be infection after surgery in your lungs, your kidneys or bladder, or your operative site. Sometimes it is necessary to take more antibiotics or even repeat surgery to drain infection.
- Damage to Other Body Structures: In performing surgery in the pelvis, we are operating in the area of the bowel, bladder, uterus, kidneys, large blood vessels, and pelvic nerves. Once in a great while, one of these other structures may be injured during pelvic surgery. Sometimes this can be recognized and repaired at the same time. Other injuries may not be apparent right away or may need further surgery at a later time.
This information is not meant to frighten you or make the surgery seem unduly risky, but it is important to be fully informed and have a chance to ask questions. Every time we operate, we do so with the utmost care and try to provide you with a safe and good outcome.
The benefits of pelvic surgery can include: stopping abnormal vaginal bleeding, treating or preventing cancer of the cervix, uterus, tubes and ovaries, treating pelvic pain, restoring normal function of the vaginal walls and bladder and enhancing or stopping fertility.
Most patients do very well during and after surgery and are healthy, pleased with the outcome, and able to return to normal activities soon after surgery.