Follow Up Appointments
You will be required to see Dr Andrea Garrett again 6 weeks after your surgery. Please contact the rooms to make this appointment. If there are any problems encountered prior to this check up please contact the rooms to make an earlier appointment. Some patients will require multiple follow up visits.
On discharge from the hospital you will be given some medication for pain relief. Continue to take this medication for as long as it is required. You can expect to reduce your need for pain medication over the following weeks. Some medication can make you constipated and you may require bowel softening agents. All your normal medications can be resumed once you are discharged unless directed otherwise.
Some patients will be required to self-administer a blood thinning injection (Clexane) for 4 weeks after discharge. If this is required you will be given education whilst you are an inpatient in how to administer the injection. If you are unable to give it to yourself, a relative will be taught how to give the injection.
Driving and Travel
When you are fit to drive a car will be variable depending on the type of operation you had. In general laparoscopic (keyhole) procedures will enable you to return to driving quicker than a laparotomy (cut to the abdomen). Once you are able to move around freely and not require pain relief medication you are able to drive. Please check your insurance policy as well in case there are extra restrictions placed by your insurer. If you undertake any long car journeys (greater than one hour) or plane travel in your recovery period, please wear your TED (compression) stockings. If any lymph nodes were removed or you developed a DVT (blood clot) you will need to wear these stockings for all car and plane travel in the future.
Resumption of Normal Activities
Over the recovery period you will find that you will be able to increase your activities gradually. By the 6 week check up it is anticipated that you will be “back to normal”. If you return to activities too soon, you will feel sore the following day. It is important to do some physical activity during your recouperation, however this will need to be paced at a comfortable level for you.
Return to Work
Once you have seen Dr Andrea Garrett for the 6 week check up, you will be given clearance to return to work. In some instances it may be possible to return to work sooner. If you require a medical certificate please inform Dr Andrea Garrett or Linda Burns and this will be arranged for you.
If you have had a hysterectomy or procedure to the cervix you will encounter some bleeding or discharge. This may be as heavy as a period in the first few days after the procedure but should lessen over time. Vaginal discharge can range in colour from pink to red to brown loss. Should you experience heavy bleeding with clots or flooding – this is NOT normal – and you should seek medical attention. Occasionally an odour can be detected and this may signify an infection, in which case antibiotics will be required.
Sutures/Stitches and Wound Care
Your wounds will be sutured with a dissolvable suture material and therefore no stitches are required to be removed. Occasionally the suture material can become irritating and poke out of the skin. The sutures will eventually dissolve but can be removed if they are causing discomfort. If the wound becomes red or any pus discharges from the wound you will require antibiotics for a wound infection. Once the wound is healed you may apply any lotions or oils to the skin.
If you were menopausal before the operation, you will not experience any change in symptoms after surgery to remove your ovaries. If however you were still menstruating before the operation and both your ovaries were removed you will experience surgical menopause. A range of symptoms can occur, however the most common is hot flushes. Menopausal symptoms can be treated in a variety of ways. The simplest way to improve symptoms is to commence Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), however not all women are suitable for this treatment. Dr Andrea Garrett will discuss with you the various options for treatment of the menopause.
Intercourse is not recommended for 6 weeks following hysterectomy or procedures to the cervix. If there is ongoing vaginal discharge this restriction may be longer. Dr Andrea Garrett will perform a speculum examination at the 6 week check and inform you whether it is safe to resume sexual activity. If there is some minor bleeding from the vagina after the first episode of intercourse do not be alarmed. If there is heavy bleeding you will need to seek medical attention.
Bladder and Bowel Function
Your bowel and bladder habit may be altered following your surgery but this should return to normal over a period of time. It is very common to become constipated after surgery so it is recommended that you keep well hydrated and use bowel softeners as required. If you experience ongoing problems please contact the rooms.
If your hysterectomy was for a benign (non cancer) condition and all previous smears were normal, you are not required to have any further PAP Smears. For cancer related conditions Dr Andrea Garrett will arrange any follow up smears that are required.