Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy: Before Your Surgery
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy: Before Your Surgery

Female pelvic organs

What is a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. Sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes also are removed at the same time.

In a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy, the doctor makes one or more small cuts (incisions) in the belly. The doctor inserts a lighted viewing instrument (laparoscope, or scope) and surgical tools through the cuts in the belly. The scope and surgical tools help the doctor free the uterus. The doctor then makes a small cut in the vagina and removes the uterus.

After the surgery, you will no longer have periods. You will not be able to get pregnant. If there is a chance that you will want to have a baby in the future, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

Some women go home the day of surgery and some will stay in the hospital 1 to 2 days after surgery. You will need about 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover. The recovery time may be less for some patients.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, please do so using only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do NOT shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Remove all jewellery, piercings, and contact lenses.
  • Leave your valuables at home.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • Before surgery you will be asked to repeat your full name, what surgery you are having, and what part of your body is being operated on. The area for surgery may be marked.
  • A small tube (IV) will be placed in a vein, to give you fluids and medicine to help you relax. Because of the combination of medicines given to keep you comfortable, you may not remember much about the operating room.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may range from making you fully asleep, to simply numbing the area being worked on. This will depend on the procedure you are having, as well as a discussion between your doctor, the anesthesia provider, and you.
  • The surgery usually takes about 2 to 4 hours.
  • As you wake up in the recovery room, the nurse will check to be sure you are stable and comfortable. It is important for you to tell your doctor and nurse how you feel and ask questions about any concerns you may have.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home.
  • For your safety, you should not drive until you are no longer taking pain medicines and you can move and react easily.
  • Arrange for extra help at home after surgery, especially if you live alone or provide care for another person.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery, including activity and when you may return to work.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You do not understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before surgery (such as fever, cold or influenza [flu], chest pain, or shortness of breath).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter D669 in the search box to learn more about "Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy: Before Your Surgery".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.