What are the risks and potential complications of a hysterectomy?
As will all surgeries, a hysterectomy involves risks and the possibility of complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can occur during surgery or recovery.
General risks of surgery
The general risks of surgery include:
Anesthesia reaction, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
Bleeding or hemorrhage (heavy bleeding), which can lead to shock
Blood clot, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can move to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood
Potential complications of a hysterectomy
Complications of a hysterectomy can be serious and include:
Damage to your urinary tract, bladder, rectum, or other pelvic structures during surgery, which may lead to problems, such as urinary or fecal incontinence, and require further surgical repair
Early onset of menopause if both ovaries are removed
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:
Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery
Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage
Taking your medications exactly as directed
Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies
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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