Women's Health

How to Prepare for a Hysterectomy

The best ways to get ready for a surgery that will reshape your life.

How to Prepare for a Hysterectomy

Key Takeaways

  • Gynecologists are moving faster toward less invasive and painless surgical techniques that enable the patient to recover faster from surgery.
  • Talk yourself through the process with words of self-encouragement, and visualize a successful outcome and happy recovery. 

The very thought of surgery often triggers a sense of panic and anxiety, and the morbid fear of pain, complications, and a prolonged recovery phase. But technology has changed the medical landscape, and gynecologists today are moving confidently toward less invasive and painless surgical techniques that enable the patient to recover faster from surgery and lead a normal life. Hysterectomies are no exception to this development. 

The most important change is that surgical options for a hysterectomy have become a matter of choice, and each woman can select the kind of surgery that suits her individual requirements. Today, a woman has more time to prepare and get ready for surgery, and being prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically is the key to recovering faster and regaining one’s health after a hysterectomy.

Healthy Women Have a Hassle-Free Option – Ambulatory Outpatient Surgery

Generally, these are laparoscopic hysterectomies that do not require extended periods of hospitalization. The procedures are shorter, completed within 90 minutes, and after a brief period of monitoring, the patient is back home for rest and recuperation. Ambulatory surgical services are becoming more popular as they can be accessed nearer one’s home and are most suitable for otherwise healthy individuals. These services are designed to deliver surgical options in various specializations, and require very little personal preparation for these reasons:

  • They involve the least delays with little or no waiting time.
  • They do not intrude into one’s work schedule and family time.
  • They are relatively inexpensive, and one can recover safely in a familiar environment and with the creature comforts of one’s home without straining office commitments.

Hospitalization Is Normally Recommended for Women With Serious, Pre-Existing Ailments

Surgery becomes complicated in women who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or any other chronic disease. The surgeon has to ensure that vital parameters are controlled and stabilized before surgery. This requires more monitoring, screening tests, and blood assays on a repetitive basis. Such women require a safe, sterile, and stress-free environment away from family pressures to focus their energies on pre- and post-surgical treatment and recovery.

Strengthening the Emotional Foundation

Surgery can be a stressful and energy-sapping experience regardless of whether one opts for outpatient surgery or extended hospitalization. More than the surgical procedure, the biggest contributor to stress is the lack of knowledge and understanding of what one is about to go through.

The best way to prepare for surgery is to discuss each step of the process with your surgeon and nursing staff. As you learn more about the procedure, you start vanquishing myths and misunderstandings.

To make your journey pleasant and tolerable, adopt a positive and never-say-die attitude. Talk yourself through the process with words of self-encouragement, and visualize a successful outcome and happy recovery. Also, try yoga and meditation to boost your mental and emotional energy reserves.

Laying the Physical Foundation for Surgery

Unknown to many women, the period before surgery can make or break the hospitalization experience. This is the time to focus one’s energies on regaining maximum physical fitness.

  • Surgeons universally agree that obesity and fatty tissue create huge complications in surgery. Therefore, the key to a successful operation should be a planned weight loss regimen.
  • Anesthesia interacts badly with airways that are degraded, as they usually are in heavy smokers. Quit smoking and completely avoid alcoholic beverages to keep the airways clear so that the anesthesia produces fewer side effects.
  • Avoid fast food and increase the intake of nutritious and immunity-enhancing foods rich in antioxidants.
  • Stay hydrated through regular consumption of mineral water and fruit juices.
  • Avoid using razors or other shaving devices on the skin on the genital area prior to surgery to prevent injuries that could delay wound healing.
  • Do aerobic exercises or at least walk more to strengthen one's cardiovascular system and tone one's muscles.

Discussing the Medical Aspects of Your Case Thoroughly

Elect the method of surgery that blends in well with your office and family commitments.

  • List the screening tests, blood and urine tests, and scans and try to understand the significance of their findings.
  • Some medications, such as blood thinners, may create conditions unsuitable for surgery. Take the doctor’s advice on what needs to be discontinued or substituted.
  • Diabetes can create cardiac issues, delay wound healing, and require extended post-operative intensive care. Discuss with your doctor how you should manage insulin intake both before and after surgery.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism are conditions in which blood clots endanger the normal flow of blood in veins and arteries. If you are susceptible to these ailments, you need to follow the treatment plan suggested by the physician before surgery to prevent post-operative complications.
  • Know your options and have your say in determining the kind of surgery that best addresses your problem. For example, if you have fibroids, discuss whether removal of the fibroids is sufficient to tackle the problem instead of an outright hysterectomy.
  • Discuss whether conditions like endometriosis can be better treated through holistic therapies like homeopathy or acupuncture, and by rebalancing one’s nutritional intake and lifestyle.
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, asthma, high levels of bad cholesterol leading to arterial clogging, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease need to be controlled and stabilized before surgery.  This is an imperative so as to avoid complications and prolonged hospitalization.

Addressing the Legal Issues of Surgery and Surgical Outcomes

Discussing issues with a healthcare professional and signing the dotted line on a consent form initiates the legal aspects of hospitalization. Consult a healthcare attorney for drawing up either a will or health care proxy arrangement by which your wishes will be carried out in case of any contingency that prevents you from expressing them for any period. You could also appoint a relative or well-wisher to donate blood if required at any stage. Get friends or relatives to pitch in to look after the kids, arrange for their food, and supervise their schooling.

Tackling Your Job When You Are Physically Incapacitated

A stay in the hospital stresses out both employers and employees, and one way to solve this is by discussing the possibility of working remotely or finalizing a time-bound post-recovery strategy to complete pending jobs. If that is not possible, examine COBRA Plans to find out what you can do to leverage a company health plan that involves a lower out-of-pocket expenditure.  

Preparing Financially for Surgery

Discuss your medical plan with the hospital. Instead of focusing on what the plan covers, concentrate on the out-of-pocket expenses. Estimate the amount you will need to meet that expenditure. Every estimate should include preoperative treatment, the surgery, post-operative care, medication, and follow-up visitation expenses. Knowing the limitations of your health plan motivates you to be better prepared financially to avoid nasty surprises.

There is no way of predicting the outcome of any surgical procedure. It may be a good idea to opt for catastrophic insurance cover to take care of unexpected expenses, and this may involve a lower premium policy with higher deductibles.

Ensure that you supply every possible information to the hospital’s customer care representatives and insurance personnel, and that you answer all questions correctly so that prior approvals are put through where necessary. This is your way of ensuring that unwarranted procedures are minimized and that surgical procedures are not carried out without your informed consent and approval.