How do I prepare for my hysterectomy?
You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for a hysterectomy by:
Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a chest X-ray, EKG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
Losing weight before the surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan
Not eating or drinking just prior to surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of the procedure because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.
Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. For a hysterectomy, this may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. You may also be instructed to take a laxative to clean out your bowel the day before surgery.
Questions to ask your doctor
Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before surgery and between appointments.
It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your preoperative appointments. Questions can include:
Why do I need a hysterectomy? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
What type of hysterectomy procedure will I need?
How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
What kind of restrictions will I have after the surgery, and when can I return to work and other activities?
What kind of assistance will I need at home?
What medication plan should I follow before and after the surgery?
How will you manage my pain?
When should I follow up with you?
How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.
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- Hysterectomy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp008.cfm.
- Hysterectomy. Womenshealth.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/hysterectomy.cfm.
- Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf