Each year in the United States, about half a million women undergo hysterectomies to improve their health. Thanks to advanced minimally invasive techniques and robotic technology, today’s hysterectomy is very different from a few decades ago.
At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and our team have performed our fair share of hysterectomies over the years. We take pride in the fact that we use the most up-to-date technologies available, including the daVinci® robot-assisted system.
While we can greatly reduce your recovery time and risks with this approach, it’s still surgery and there’s still some recovery. To help make the first few days back at home go a little more smoothly, here are a few tips.
1. Take it easy, but not too easy
As of 2016, between 70% and 80% of hysterectomies were performed using minimally invasive techniques, and we suspect this number has grown. We bring this up because your recovery time is reduced when we avoid an open abdominal hysterectomy — instead of 6-8 weeks, you can count on about 2-3 weeks, although everyone heals at their own pace.
Thanks to the lack of collateral damage during a minimally invasive hysterectomy, you’re able to move much more easily afterward, and we encourage you to do so.
While we want you to take it easy for the first few days after your procedure, we also want you to get up and go for short walks to get your blood flowing. This is important in getting your healing resources circulating through your body, which can speed up your recovery even more. Not to mention , moving can help prevent constipation.
2. No heavy lifting or strenuous exercise
While short walks are great during the weeks after your recovery, gradually building up to longer walks, we don’t want you running to the gym and lifting weights. In fact, we don’t even want you lifting grocery bags or anything else for a week or two.
We also don’t want you engaging in anything too strenuous for a couple of weeks, such as running, until we give you the greenlight.
When it comes to sexual activity, we’ll let you know when it’s OK to have intercourse again, which will depend on how we accessed your uterus and how quickly you heal.
3. Handling discharge and incisions
If we perform a vaginal hysterectomy, we’ll likely send you home with a dressing inside your vagina to soak up any blood or discharge. In most cases, you can remove this after 24 hours and then rely on pads for any residual discharge. We do NOT want you to use tampons.
If we had to make small incisions in your lower abdomen, we want you to keep these sites clean and dry. Under most circumstances, you can take a shower within 24-48 hours after your hysterectomy, but we don't want you to take a bath for a few weeks if you have incisions that need to heal.
Rest assured, we're with you every step of the way, and we also provide you with more detailed aftercare instructions before you go home.
If you have more questions about your hysterectomy and how to ease your recovery, we invite you to contact our office in Carson City, Nevada.