Before a hysterectomy is scheduled, a complete physical examination is performed as well as a thorough review of:
- Your previous surgeries
- Your previous medical problems
- Any allergies you have
If there are significant medical problems, you will be asked to see a family doctor for medical clearance—an authorization by the physician that you are physically able to tolerate the surgery and anesthesia.
The reason for surgery and types of surgery will be discussed thoroughly, along with benefits, risks, and any concerns expressed by the patient. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may need to obtain a second opinion or a pre-surgical approval by the insurance company.
Pre-surgery preparation includes the following steps:
- Stopping smoking for 6-8 weeks prior to surgery, as wound healing is slowed down by smoking
- Discontinuation of aspirin or other blood clotting medications for 10-14 days prior to surgery, if possible, to decrease excess bleeding risks
- No eating or drinking from midnight the day before the surgery
- In some cases, only clear liquids for 1-3 days before surgery and laxatives to clean out the colon
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Hysterectomy
It’s important to get all concerns addressed before getting a hysterectomy. Review this list of common questions before your consultation with the doctor, or print it out to bring with you.
Question About My Diagnosis
- Is there a risk that I have cancer?
- What is the difference between a myomectomy and hysterectomy?
- If I am already in menopause, does the ovary still perform a function?
- Why do you feel that I need a hysterectomy?
- Is there a website I can visit for more information about my condition?
- How common is my problem?
- Can there be any other conditions that mimic my diagnosis?
- Are there other medical conditions associated with my problem?
Questions About My Treatment
- What type of hysterectomy do you advise for me? Why?
- What surgical approach are you planning? Why?
- Will you be taking out my ovaries?
- Is there something that I can take to prevent instant menopause?
- Are there treatments that I can have instead?
- Are there procedures that we can try first?
- Is there medication to shrink down fibroids?
- What type of anesthesia would I have?
Questions About My Lifestyle and Family
- Will having this surgery diminish my sex drive?
- When can I resume intercourse?
- Will I need a private duty nurse when I go home?
- When can I start exercising?
- Are there exercises that could improve my condition?
- When can I return to work?
- When can I drive again?