Because a laparoscopic hysterectomy requires much smaller incisions than a standard abdominal procedure, it is becoming increasingly popular among women who want to recover more quickly, miss less work, and-or be left with smaller scars.(1) The laparoscope instrument, a fiber optics based took, needs only a one-half to quarter inch incision. Even a large uterus can be removed through this slender, high-tech tube. Women who have never had children, or present a narrow pelvic area, are two other groups of patients well suited for this procedure.
Many laparoscopic hysterectomies make use of glue or stitches that dissolve by themselves.(2) In cases where staples or standard stitches have been used to close up the incisions, these are usually removed within five to seven days of the operation.
A catheter may sometimes be attached to the patient for the first day or so after the operation, to drain urine. It is of a kind that allows patients to remain mobile enough to walk to a restroom and empty it themselves. Since it is normal for vaginal bleeding to occur for one to two-weeks after the procedure, special packs and then sanitary napkins will sometimes be needed.
Among the issues that laparoscopic hysterectomy patients may have to deal with is “trapped wind.” whereby slowed down bowels may cause some gaseous discomfort.(2) Peppermint water and walking can help ease the pain and discomfort of this very short-term issue.
There is also a small risk of blood clots forming. Doctors recommend that patients be as mobile as they can after the operation and get back to an exercise regimen as quickly as possible. In cases where this needs to be treated more directly, options include the daily injection of a blood-thinning agent, compression stockings, and special boots that can be inflated and deflated as needed. Women whose ovaries have been removed may also be offered the option of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
(1) WebMD Video – “Advances Improve Outlook for Women”, Retrieved July 10, 2011 from http://www.webmd.com/video/laparoscopic-hysterectomy
(2) Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Information for You After a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy”, Retrieved July 10, 2011 from http://www.rcog.org.uk/information-for-you-after-a-laparoscopic-hysterectomy