Whether or not you can go home the day of a hysterectomy depends on several factors, including the type of hysterectomy, your health status, and your doctor’s recommendations. In many cases, going home the same day is possible with the right preparation and support.
What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus. There are three main types of hysterectomy:
- Partial hysterectomy – the uterus is removed but the cervix is left in place
- Total hysterectomy – the uterus and cervix are both removed
- Radical hysterectomy – the uterus, cervix, and surrounding tissue are removed
A hysterectomy can be performed through different techniques:
- Vaginal hysterectomy – through an incision in the vagina
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy – through several small incisions using a tiny camera
- Robotic hysterectomy – similar to laparoscopic but uses a robotic system
- Abdominal hysterectomy – through a large incision in the abdomen
Going Home after a Hysterectomy
Many factors determine whether going home the same day is possible after a hysterectomy:
- Type of procedure – Vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomies involve smaller incisions and quicker recovery times compared to open abdominal procedures, making same-day discharge more likely.
- Reason for surgery – Hysterectomies for non-cancerous reasons are more likely to result in a same-day discharge than cancer-related procedures.
- Extent of surgery – A partial hysterectomy is less invasive than a total hysterectomy, so going home the same day is more feasible.
- Individual factors – Your overall health, age, recovery ability, and support system at home play a role.
- Doctor recommendation – Your surgeon will determine if you meet the criteria for same-day discharge or need overnight monitoring.
Preparing for Same-Day Discharge
If your doctor determines you can go home the day of your hysterectomy, some preparations will help ensure a smooth transition:
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and stay with you for 24 hours.
- Stock up on easy-to-prepare foods, comfort items, and entertainment for your recovery.
- Set up your home environment by putting frequently used items within reach.
- Complete any chores or errands beforehand so you can fully rest.
- Have any prescriptions filled and understand your medication schedule.
- Ask your doctor questions about pain management, activity restrictions, wound care, and follow-up appointments.
Recovery at Home after Same-Day Discharge
The first few days of recovery after being discharged on the same day as your hysterectomy will require diligence:
- Get lots of rest and avoid strenuous activity.
- Take pain medication as directed to manage discomfort.
- Change bandages and monitor incisions for signs of infection.
- Avoid lifting anything over 5-10 pounds.
- Focus on keeping incisions clean and dry.
- Gradually increase movement by walking around your home.
- Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself.
- Keep follow-up appointments with your doctor to track healing.
Full recovery can take up to 6 weeks. Having help and following your doctor’s instructions will facilitate healing.
The Benefits of Same-Day Discharge
When medically appropriate, same-day discharge after a hysterectomy offers several advantages:
- Earlier discharge gets you back into the comfort of home sooner.
- Recuperating in familiar surroundings can promote healing.
- You avoid an overnight hospital stay and additional medical costs.
- Risk of hospital-acquired infections is reduced.
- Mental health benefits come from sleeping in your own bed.
Risks of Same-Day Discharge
Despite the benefits, same-day discharge does come with some risks to consider:
- Lack of medical supervision if complications arise at home.
- Overexertion without nurses available to assist with getting up, walking, etc.
- Dehydration, constipation, or medication issues without an IV or staff to help manage.
- Difficulty identifying signs of problems like bleeding without close monitoring.
- Feeling overwhelmed or emotionally unprepared.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
To determine if going home the same day as your hysterectomy is right for you, ask your doctor:
- What type of hysterectomy will you be performing and through what technique?
- How long is the typical recovery time for this procedure?
- What needs to happen (bowel sounds, ability to walk, etc.) for me to be discharged?
- Should I have someone with me for the first 24 hours at home?
- What instructions do I need for caring for my incision?
- When can I resume normal activities like driving and working?
- Will I need home health care services after being discharged?
- How much pain or bleeding is normal versus worrisome?
- When should I follow up with you after going home?
Whether same-day discharge is possible after a hysterectomy depends on the procedure type, your health status, doctor recommendations, and preparation. While going home the same day allows for emotional benefits and avoiding extended hospital stays, adequate support and post-op care is vital for a smooth recovery. Discuss your specific case in-depth with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for same-day discharge after a hysterectomy procedure.