As the term might suggest, a radical hysterectomy involves the comprehensive removal of a women’s uterus.(1) Performed on early-stage cervical cancer patients and other sufferers, it involves the removal of not just the uterus but also the cervix, connective pelvis tissue (bilateral parametria), the upper vagina, and a portion of the uterosacral ligament. In some cases, a pelvic lymphadenectomy is also performed to remove pelvic lymph nodes. If the patient wants to try and retain the ability to bear children, there is the option of a radical trachelectomy, which removes all of the aforementioned organs except for the uterus.
Though every patient is different, there is always the possibility that a radical hysterectomy will engender anything but radical recovery difficulties.(2) One patient who opted for the smaller series of incisions and robotic instrumentation assistance was able to leave hospital the very next day.
Even though this woman’s doctors and nursing staff were skeptical, the female patient was able to prove them wrong. She overcame some initial grogginess and needed pain medication after she left the hospital for only another day and a half. Amazingly, she was back at work four days after the operation.
Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, women undergoing a radical hysterectomy will generally be asked not to wear nail polish, dentures or partial plates, contact lenses, and other impeding items.(3) Following the operation, intravenous fluids may be administered and a catheter connected to drain urine from the bladder.
The incision may be dressed from the abdomen all the way to the groin. In addition, one or two smaller tubes called hemovacs may be connected to the patient’s lower abdomen to prevent fluid from collecting in the abdomen. Bladder tubes are either a foley catheter, which can be removed three to four days after surgery, or suprapubic catheter, which is sometimes removed before the fema;e patient leaves the hospital.
(1) NYU Langone Medical Center – Robotic Radical Hysterectomy, Retrieved July 7, 2011 from http://robotic-surgery.med.nyu.edu/for-patients/our-departments/gynecology/procedures/radical-hysterectomy
(2) NYU Langone Medical Center – Patient Testimonial: Debbie Nguyen, Retrieved July 7, 2011 from http://robotic-surgery.med.nyu.edu/for-patients/patient-testimonials/debbie-nguyen-radical-hysterectomy
(3) Ohio State University – Radical Hysterectomy, Retrieved July 7, 2011 from http://cancer.osu.edu/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/women-in/gynecolo/hyst-rad.pdf