Right after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. Usually the stay in the recovery area is for 1 to 4 hours. You will then be moved to a hospital room. In addition to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you during your recovery.

You will likely stay in the hospital 1 to 4 days after a hysterectomy. About 4 to 6 weeks after the hysterectomy, your doctor will examine you in his or her office. You should be able to return to all of your normal activities, including having sexual intercourse, in about 6 to 8 weeks. Some light bleeding or spotting is expected for up to 6 weeks following a hysterectomy. If your vaginal bleeding is heavier or different than what you were told to expect,

After you have a hysterectomy, you will not be able to become pregnant. After a hysterectomy, call your doctor if you have:

• Chest pain, a cough, or difficulty breathing.
• Bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks two or more pads in an hour or forms large or painful clots.
• Pain or tenderness, swelling, or redness in your legs.
• A fever of 100F or higher.
• Pain that is not relieved by your pain medicine or pain that is getting worse.
• Pus coming from your incision.
• Difficulty passing a stool, especially if you have not had a normal bowel movement for 3 to 5 days, or if you have mild pain or swelling in your lower abdomen.
• Difficulty passing urine, pain or burning when you urinate, blood in your urine, or cloudy urine.
• Pain, discomfort, or bleeding during intercourse.
• Hot flashes, sweating, flushing, or a fast or pounding heartbeat.

Why It Is Done

Endometrial cancer most often occurs in the inner lining of the uterus and is contained within the uterus in the earlier stages. Removal of the uterus reduces the risk of cancer recurring or spreading. The ovaries are a common site for spread (metastasis) of endometrial cancer cells and so are almost always removed at the same time.

How Well It Works

Removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries reduces the risk of spread or recurrence of endometrial cancer.

A 2002 study comparing results from abdominal (laparotomy) hysterectomy and laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) for early-stage endometrial cancer found similar rates of success. The study reported that 92% of women who had abdominal surgery and 90% of women who had LAVH were cancer-free 5 years after treatment. 1 LAVH is not commonly done for endometrial cancer. Medical centers and surgeons may prefer to do the type of surgery that they have more experience with.

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Most women do not have complications after a hysterectomy. But complications that may occur include:

• Fever. A slight fever is common after any surgery.
• Difficulty urinating.
• Urinary incontinence.
• Continued heavy bleeding. Some vaginal bleeding within 4 to 6 weeks

following a hysterectomy is expected. But call your doctor if bleeding continues to be heavy.

The formation of scar tissue (adhesions). Rare complications include:

  • Infection.
  • Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis) or lungs (pulmonary embolus).
  • Injury to other organs, such as the bladder or bowel.
  • A collection of blood at the surgical site (hematoma).

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