What to Expect After a Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy

Whether you’re having a minimally invasive hysterectomy to treat a reproductive cancer or resolve a disruptive gynecological problem, knowing what to expect after your procedure can put your mind at ease. Learn more here.

Each year, nearly half a million women in the United States have a hysterectomy to treat a health-diminishing problem or resolve a life-threatening condition. As the second most common female-specific surgery after cesarean childbirth (c-section), a hysterectomy can put an end to disruptive gynecological symptoms and protect your long-term well-being.

Our expert team at New Beginnings OB/GYN in Shenandoah, Texas, specializes in minimally invasive hysterectomy surgery using laparoscopic and robotic-assisted techniques. Our advanced approach helps minimize tissue damage, reduce the risk of complications, and foster faster healing for optimal recovery. 

Here, Dr. Christina Parmar and Dr. Rania Ibrahim explain what you can expect as you recover from 

Minimally invasive hysterectomy basics

Unlike a conventional hysterectomy, which is done through a large (three-to-six-inch) incision across the lower abdomen, a minimally invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy is done via a few tiny incisions — one near the naval (belly button) and two or three more in the lower abdomen. 

After administering general anesthesia and making the micro-incisions, our team inserts a slender tube with a lighted camera into one opening. This camera transmits live 3D images to a high-definition monitor, so we can see the treatment area in much greater detail than we could with the naked eye.   

Via the other incisions, we use specialized surgical tools, and often robotic assistance, to remove the uterus and cervix (and, in some instances, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and upper vagina). Our goal is to attain the most significant level of surgical precision while disrupting as little healthy tissue as possible.      

Recovering from hysterectomy surgery

Most patients stay in the hospital for one night after a minimally invasive hysterectomy. You may need to stay a few days longer, however, if your procedure was done to treat cancer.  

While it typically takes four to six weeks to recover from a conventional hysterectomy, a minimally invasive hysterectomy comes with a significantly shorter recovery timeline of one to two weeks. This includes: 

Right after surgery, in the hospital

After a hysterectomy, most people wake up tired and with some discomfort: You may notice swollen, tender incision sites and discomfort in your abdomen and shoulder from the gas we use to inflate your abdomen for optimal visualization during the procedure. 

 This is normal, and we provide medication to control your pain. We also have you get up and move around as soon as possible to minimize your risk of developing a blood clot. 

Your first weeks post-op, at home 

To foster optimal healing after your hysterectomy, our team provides detailed post-op instructions that cover every aspect of recovery, from activity guidelines and incision care to pain management. Key recommendations include:

  • Don’t drive for the first week if you’re taking narcotic pain medications
  • Avoid heavy lifting (10 pounds or more) and strenuous exercise for six weeks
  • Avoid sitting or lying in bed for longer than two hours at a time (aside from sleeping)
  • Don’t insert anything in your vagina for six weeks (i.e., tampons, sexual intercourse)
  • Shower daily after surgery, gently cleansing your incision sites with mild soap
  • Don’t put any lotion, ointment, or antibacterial cream on your incisions 

All women experience vaginal bleeding and discharge after a hysterectomy. Whether yours lasts for several days or weeks, use sanitary pads, not tampons, until the bleeding stops. It’s also normal to experience constipation for a few days. 

While getting plenty of rest in the first two weeks is essential, it’s also important to move around as often as possible. Start with short daily walks, gradually increasing your activity time and distance as the days pass. 

Regular follow-up appointments with our team help you recover normally in the first couple of weeks after your procedure. 

Long-term recovery after a hysterectomy 

Life without a uterus means no longer having menstrual periods. If both your ovaries are removed, too, you’ll need to start taking hormone replacement therapy to counteract other menopause symptoms

Many younger women experience a sense of grief over the early loss of fertility following their hysterectomy. But women of all ages also report a great sense of relief from the gynecological symptoms or health-threatening problems that made the surgery necessary — and, as a result, a better quality of life.

Have questions about your upcoming hysterectomy? We have answers. Call or click online to schedule a visit at New Beginnings OB/GYN in Shenandoah, Texas, today.