Mrs. Saluja is a professor of bio technology. Her gynaecologist has advised her a surgery for removal of uterus (hysterectomy) and the same was scheduled the next day. Her close relative had almost dragged her to me, insisting that I should see her once and opine. Mrs. Saluja seemed very sure and clear about everything. When I asked her these questions she looked puzzled. She did not know the answers and had not asked these questions to her doctor too.

Here I share are those eleven things you must know before undergoing hysterectomy

  1. What is Hysterectomy? : It is surgical removal of uterus. It is a common surgery that women undergo during their life time.
  2. Are ovaries going to be removed? : Ovaries are power house of the hormones. Removal of ovaries will lead to sudden deficiency of hormones. This will lead to symptoms of menopause. The skin may go dry, hair brittle, hot flushes etc. If you have already attained the menopause or on the verge of attaining it, it is fair to remove the ovaries; but not otherwise. Of course if the ovaries are diseased doctor may consider removal of the ovaries.
  3. Are there any alternative treatments available? : It is true that removal of uterus might be the ultimate solution to many of the problems. But there can be many other alternatives. These alternatives depend on what is the basic gynaecological condition that you have. You should discuss with your doctor about the options
  4. Is the removal of uterus possible through the natural orifice of vagina?  : The surgery can be done by three ways: Open surgery on abdomen, laparoscopy and vaginal surgery. Endoscopic surgery or laparoscopy is definitely better option as compared to open surgery. However even better option is to go for surgery through natural orifice that means vaginal surgery. Some doctors are able to do this surgery through vaginal route even if the uterus is large or has fibroids. Check with your doctor on this.
  5. What are the common complications? : Every surgery has its share of complications. The uterus has to be separated from the adjoining structures that is the urinary bladder and the intestines. Excessive bleeding, wound infection are two other common problems that can occur.
  6. How fast will you be able to resume work/ exercise? : It is important to know how early you can resume your work. One does not need weeks and months of rest after the surgery. Vaginal surgery leads to quickest recovery followed by laparoscopic one. One may have to resort to abdominal surgery if the uterus is too big or has large fibroids.
  7. Is there a suspicion of cancer? : It is important to understand why are you undergoing the surgery. If there is a suspicion of cancer, you must know what investigations are needed further.
  8. What is the cost? : Do not forget to ask the cost of the surgery before you go ahead.
  9. Are you sure about preparation before surgery? : Has your doctor adequately investigated you before surgery? Are you aware of when should you eat or drink last? Have you got clear instructions on preparation before surgery? Do you take any medicines that need to be stopped prior to surgery? Ask these questions to your doctor.
  10. Have you disclosed all the details about yourself? : Do not forget to disclose all the details about yourself. If you are suffering from common problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes or thyroid you must disclose it. Are you allergic to any medicines? Have you undergone a surgery in the past? Do share this information with the doctor.
  11. What anaesthesia is going to be used? : There are two broad categories. General anaesthesia where you are completely anaesthetised and regional anaesthesia in which only certain part… in this case only part below the belly button is anaesthetised. Anaesthesia depends upon the nature of surgery, medical conditions, patient’s choice and doctor’s choice.

 

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