Definition: A total abdominal hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and cervix through an incision made in the lower abdomen. The Fallopian tubes and ovaries can be removed at the same time if there is a medical indication.


  1. The office has pamphlets and a movie explaining the surgical procedure called a hysterectomy. We encourage you to read and review this information. The week prior to your surgery you will have an appointment with your doctor to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your hysterectomy. We recommend you make a list of questions to bring to that appointment.
  2. Hospitalization for an uncomplicated hysterectomy begins two hours prior to your surgery and will last 2-3 or 2-4 days.
  3. Recovery time for a hysterectomy is 6-8 weeks. During this time you should plan to stay home, rest, and recuperate. After 6 weeks your activity can return to normal and you can resume work. Total recovery is dependent on following these instructions closely.
  4. At the hospital, laboratory tests on your blood and urine will be done to determine if there are any abnormalities that may be of importance to your surgery. A chest x-ray may also be done depending on your health needs.
  5. The night before surgery you should have a light dinner, then nothing to eat or drink after 12 midnight. If you are on routine medications ask your physician whether you should take them the morning of surgery.


  1. Please do not chew gum or smoke the day of surgery. You should remove all jewelry, nail polish, and contact lenses prior to coming to the hospital. Do not bring large amounts of cash or valuables to the hospital.
  2. Arrive at the hospital 2 hours prior to your scheduled surgery.
  3. You will speak to an anesthesiologist regarding your surgery sometime prior to your surgery. An IV will be started to give you fluids and a medication to help you relax. You will continue to receive IV fluids until after your surgery.
  4. The surgery will take approximately 2 hours. You will then remain in the recovery room until you are fully awake. At this time you will be moved into a patient room. You will have a foley catheter in your bladder that will remain 1-2 days after surgery. Pain medication is ordered post-surgery; do not hesitate to ask for it as needed.


Vaginal bleeding It is normal to have vaginal bleeding and discharge for the next several weeks. Do not douche, use vaginal tampons, or place anything in the vagina until after your 4-6 week follow-up examination. Pain It is normal to have discomfort for the first 2-4 days after your hysterectomy. You will be given a prescription medication to use for the first 4-5 days after you go home to help control this discomfort alternate with Motrin. A warm heating pad or hot water bottle placed on the abdomen will also help relieve soreness. After 5-6 days you may take Acetaminophen 500 mg (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen 400 mg (Advil) 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours to control the pain, unless otherwise directed by the doctor. Incision Immediately after surgery your incision will have thin white adhesive strips on it. These are called steri-strips and aid in the healing process. They may fall off with bathing or you may remove them 7-8 days after going home. Your incision should be dry and returning to normal color within 5-6 days. Activity Rest is very important. Scheduled rest periods are beneficial for the first 2-4 weeks. Try different positions when sitting or lying down for comfort. Climb steps slowly and always use a handrail. You should not lift articles over 10 pounds for the first 4 weeks after surgery. Lifting may strain the surgical site and delay healing. Do not drive a car alone for 2 weeks. You may return to work after your 6 week follow up appointment. Elimination It is important to have regular bowel movements after surgery. To aid this drink lots of fluid, including prune juice daily. You should increase your fiber such as raw vegetables, cereal, and fruit in your diet. If you are constipated you can take Dialose or Colace, 1 capsule daily to soften your stools. Some experience gas retention after surgery. If this is a problem you can use Mylicon Chew Tablets or Phazyme 90 as directed. Bathing You may bathe as desired. Sore Throat Some people experience a sore throat from the airway tube used in your windpipe during anesthesia. Capacol throat lozenges may provide some relief. Sexual Activity You should not resume sexual activity until after your 6 week follow up appointment in the office.


  • Pain that is not relieved by medication or position change.
  • Fever over 100 degrees.
  • Heavy bleeding that is more than a period.
  • Foul smelling discharge from your vagina.
  • Drainage or redness spreading from your incision.