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What is a vaginal hysterectomy?
A vaginal hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus through the vagina. The uterus is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina. Babies develop in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus.
What is a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy?
A bilateral salpingo oophorectomy is sometimes done in combination with other procedures and involves the removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
When are these used?
A vaginal hysterectomy may be done for several reasons. Sometimes the uterus loses support of the ligaments and falls down through the vagina. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that help support organs and hold them in place. The uterus may fall far enough to produce a lot of discomfort and may cause other problems. This problem is known as uterine prolapse. If your vaginal walls are also dropping or sagging, your doctor may repair them during the hysterectomy. Vaginal hysterectomy is also performed when you have noncancerous (benign) tumors in your uterus or abnormal bleeding from your uterus.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
You no longer have bleeding from the uterus or discomfort there. You will probably have less pain and discomfort after this operation than if your uterus were removed through a cut in your abdomen. The recovery time is usually faster for a vaginal hysterectomy than an abdominal procedure. The vaginal procedure does not leave a visible scar.
What are the risks associated with this procedure?
There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your health care provider. A regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Also, in rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia. However, regional anesthesia is considered safer than general anesthesia. Additional risks include:
How do I prepare for a hysterectomy?
Be sure to tell your health care provider what medicines you are taking, including nonprescription drugs and herbal remedies, and follow your health care provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure.
Smokers heal more slowly after surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after surgery.
Follow any other instructions your provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before midnight. Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.
What happens after the procedure?
You may stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. If the walls of your vagina were repaired, you may stay in the hospital longer while the bladder heals and starts working again. You may go home with a catheter, which is a tube used to drain urine from the bladder until the bladder starts working well again. Your provider will check how well your bladder is working at a follow-up visit.
After you go home, get plenty of rest. Do not do any heavy lifting or otherwise strain the stomach muscles for 4 to 6 weeks. Follow your health care provider's instructions for activity, dealing with pain, and preventing constipation. Ask your provider what other steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.
If you were having menstrual periods before the surgery, you will no longer have them after the operation. You also cannot become pregnant. If you have concerns about this, discuss them with your health care provider before the surgery.
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