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What is a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the patient's uterus is removed. There are different methods that may be used, such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy. This relatively new approach employs smaller incisions to reduce the recovery time. Since this surgical technique is complicated, a woman undergoing this procedure should look for a specialized surgeon who has experience with laparoscopic hysterectomies.

The benefits of undergoing a laparoscopic hysterectomy, as opposed to other techniques, generally includes shorter patient recovery time. A woman will not have a large incision area on the abdomen that needs time to heal. This approach also often results in less pain for the patient, which may mean that she will need fewer drugs to alleviate discomfort. It also typically involves less blood loss during surgery.

Any type of hysterectomy may be performed because the patient suffers from uterine fibroids. Fibroids are growths in the uterus that may cause pain, but they are not usually cancerous. A woman may also undergo this operation to treat uterine cancer. Other possible reasons for this surgery include endometriosis, abnormal bleeding from the uterus, and chronic pelvic pain.

To prepare for a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the patient should discuss all medications and other medical conditions with her surgeon. She may need to discontinue certain drugs or supplements prior to surgery. The patient will also need to refrain from eating or drinking for a period of time beforehand.

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This type of surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, which means that the patient will not be awake during it. Patients are also often given an antibiotic prior to the surgery to prevent infection. After the anesthesia is administered, the surgeon will insert a thin catheter into the bladder to drain urine during the procedure.

Following these preparations, the surgeon will make small incisions in the lower abdomen. He will then insert a laparoscope, which is a thin instrument with a camera and a light. This allows him to view inside the body and to insert small surgical instruments into the incisions. Through them, he will then remove the uterus in small pieces. Sometimes, the cervix is also removed during this procedure, especially if the patient has had abnormal pap smears or other cervical problems.

Typically, following a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the patient can expect to stay in the hospital for about two days. She should have someone else drive her home upon her discharge. The specific recovery time will vary from patient to patient, however, many recover within two weeks. The doctor will likely discourage heavy lifting and strenuous activities for a few weeks longer than this, to insure complete healing.

Most patients can expect to experience vaginal discharge and bleeding for several weeks following a laparoscopic hysterectomy. A patient should refrain from using any products, such as tampons, douches, or engaging in sexual intercourse for at least six weeks. She should also get plenty of rest and report any abnormalities to her surgeon.

Before undergoing this procedure, one should understand the potential risks involved. Some women may experience infection, blood clots, or a reaction to the anesthesia. Others may suffer from an injury to nearby organs or the urinary tract. Intestinal scarring that results in a bowel blockage may also occur. Patients should discuss these possible complications with a doctor.

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