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Post Hysterectomy

What Is A Radical Hysterectomy

The most invasive hysterectomy is the radical hysterectomy. This procedure removes all the female reproductive organs including the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. It includes removal of the pelvic lymph glands. This operation is generally performed for cervical cancer and for some ovarian cancers.

The recovery period following a radical hysterectomy is at least three months, with a hospital stay of seven to fourteen days. Typically the patient is under heavy sedation for the first two days following surgery. The surgery itself takes several hours and is performed under a general anesthesia. This type of invasive surgery carries the risk of hemorrhage both during and after the operation.
In any surgery, there is a risk of adverse reaction to anesthesia and post operative infection. The more invasive the surgery, the greater the risk of post operative complications.

Since the ovaries are removed in this surgery, a patient will have menopausal symptoms following surgery. These are usually treated with hormone replacement therapy. The removal of the cervix may cause vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction. Women who require this surgery should get support and counseling both before the surgery and afterwards.

During the first two days following surgery, the patient is typically on complete bed rest. Physical therapy will commence shortly after the surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots. As soon as is practical, the patient will be encouraged to get up and walk around and begin low impact exercises with the recommendation of her doctor and physical therapist.

During the recovery period which takes about twelve weeks, patients should not participate in any strenuous exercise and should avoid lifting. Patients should not engage in any activities like driving, swimming or strenuous exercise until their doctor advises them that they may resume these activities.

Post operatively, the patient may suffer from numbness of the upper thighs and pelvis. This symptom is usually temporary and fades with time. All post operative symptoms should be reported to the doctor, especially symptoms with sudden onset, or those which worsen following surgery.

For those patients suffering from sexual dysfunction following surgery, these symptoms should be discussed with your doctor. The doctor may be able to prescribe treatments to relieve the problems of sexual dysfunction and vaginal dryness.

Every woman facing this type of radical surgery has different concerns and different reactions post operatively. This type of surgery is devastating to women of child bearing age and can be physically and psychologically debilitating even for older patients. It is important that women undergoing this surgery seek out support and professional counseling. Many doctors will refer patients to support groups and mental health professionals prior to the surgery. Depression is often a side effect of the surgery and support and counseling can help lessen this effect.

Women facing radical hysterectomy do not usually have any surgical or medical options. This procedure is only performed when the health issue is life threatening. It is always wise to seek a second opinion when contemplating any surgery, but radical hysterectomy is usually the surgery that is only performed when there are no other options.

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