Rachna Ghai, 47 was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid bigger than 6 cm which required surgical removal of the uterus. She was recommended a laparoscopic hysterectomy to avoid any further complications and discomfort.
Dr Swati Sinha says, “We only recommend an operation to remove the uterus when a woman is experiencing severe symptoms and has had no relief with medication.”
Sensing Rachna’s anxiety, the doctor invited her to ask all the questions she had about laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Is a laparoscopic hysterectomy major surgery?
The gynecologist says, “A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a major surgery as it entails the surgical removal of the uterus.”
A hysterectomy may be advised in conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic support problems, gynecological cancer, abnormal uterine bleeding and chronic pelvic pain.
Hysterectomy can be total hysterectomy (removal of uterus and cervix) or partial hysterectomy (only the uterus is removed) or may involve unilateral or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of tubes and/or of one side of ovaries or both) with it.
Laparoscopy hysterectomy can also be done as laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (performed partially through laparoscopy and partially through the vagina).
The removal of your tubes and ovaries depends on the ailment for which the procedure is performed. The type of surgery is best suggested by your doctor.
In expert hands, it is mostly a safe surgical procedure with minimal risk.
“A hysterectomy especially with the removal of ovaries sets off early menopause and results in loss of ability to bear children anymore, which is why it is usually never recommended to women who haven’t completed their family.”
Rachna was beyond her child-bearing years so this wasn’t a huge concern for her. She went on to ask how the uterus removal operation is carried out.
How do they remove the uterus laparoscopically?
Dr Swati says, ”In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, we make a small incision in the abdomen (about 1 cm) to insert a small-tube like structure called a laparoscope with a tiny camera on the outside.”
“The image of the uterus is then projected to a screen. The projection of pelvic organs is much clearer and magnified than one can see with their eyes.”
“We proceed to make the required 2-3 cuts (about 5mm) to introduce the surgical instruments. After the surgery, the disconnected uterus is removed through the vagina as the vaginal cavity is much bigger than the small incisions on the abdomen.”
“The advantage of a lap hysterectomy is that it results in less pain, a lower risk of infection and a shorter hospital stay as compared to a traditional hysterectomy. You are also able to resume your daily activities soon.”
Now that Rachna understood the intricacies of the uterus removal operation, she felt calmer about the surgery. She proceeds to ask the doctor about what she could expect post-operation.
What can you expect after a lap hysterectomy?
Dr Swati says, “The recovery time depends on the type of hysterectomy performed and your health before the uterus removal operation.”
“You are likely to get on with your daily commitments sooner than you may expect.”
Laparoscopic hysterectomy hospital stay
After laparoscopic hysterectomy, you may be required to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days.
The doctor continues to explain, “After the uterus operation, you may feel some pain and discomfort in your lower abdomen for a few days. Some may even experience light vaginal bleeding for 1-2 weeks with constipation, tiredness or feelings of being emotionally stressed.”
A hysterectomy doesn’t affect sexual wellness of women.
“It helps to know about these after-effects beforehand so you can feel better prepared, physically and mentally.”
After an in-depth discussion, Rachna felt more confident about the surgery as she knew what to expect before and after it. She scheduled the laparoscopic hysterectomy with Dr Payal, which went off smoothly with no complications.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy post op care
Rachna was able to make a quick recovery as she was guided about the right post-op practices.
As part of laparoscopic hysterectomy post op care, she was asked to do the following things:
- continue with your daily routine and don’t rest all the time,
- do gentle stretching exercises every day,
- eat a high-fibre diet which encourages a healthy bowel movement and
- adopt a positive outlook to make through the big change in your body
In a follow-up consultation, Rachna expressed her relief by saying, “I was so confused and anxious about the surgery before but I’m so glad that I got it done!”
“The laparoscopic hysterectomy helped alleviate my symptoms and eliminated any future risks. Now I can finally resume my daily activities peacefully and tension-free.”