What to expect from laparoscopic hysterectomy?

Hi ladies,

I have been diagnosed with stage 1b1 cancer and planning to have a laparoscopic radical hysterectomy with lymph node removal next month.

When I saw my consultant following my MRI, I went armed with questions about the surgery, but she wanted to do further tests first (USS, CT and EUA) so didn’t go into a lot of detail about what would happen. My next appointment with her is only two days before the actual operation, so I wondered if any of you would mind sharing your experience and knowledge with me to help me understand what to expect.

The consultant plans to leave my ovaries and told me that will probably mean menopause will happen around a year sooner than it would have otherwise. She said to expect to be in hospital for a night or two (though the letter i was sent after the appointment said three nights) but that she wanted me to keep my catheter in for three days so I’ll probably go home with it in. She told me that as my job is physically demanding I should expect to be off work for six weeks.

This will be the first time I’ve stayed overnight in hospital since I had my son 25 years ago! Any advice welcome, whether it’s what to expect from the op or the recovery or simply what to pack in my hospital bag.

I already have the peppermint tea packed!

Hi hun

cant give you any extra advise as I'm in the same situation as you !

saw my consultant / surgeon Yesterday who advised a full radical hysterectomy inc ovaries plus lymph nodes as the type of cancer cell is high risk of ovarian cancer ( I'm 37 and 2 kids so that's fine with me )

I was told 2 nights it will be key hole and take approx 5 hours and catheter for 7 days !! They teach you how to change the bag etc oh and you have to self insect for 28 days to help with DVT.

did you have time with the cancer nurse after your appointment ? She took me in a separate room with my Hubbie and spent about 20 mins going over what consultant said to make sure I understood and various other things this really helped me understand evetything.

ive heard peppermint tea & nighties instead of pj's !!

hope you get your answers soon 

Mel xx

I had wondered how you were doing confetti. Glad to hear the staging was as expected. Do you have a date for your surgery?

I thought they would have taken my ovaries as I'm 43, but they want to leave them so I suppose I'll have to trust them on that!

It's strange that catheters seem to stay in for such variable lengths of time. I'd rather have mine out as soon as possible but obviously am keen to minimise the risk of long term bladder problems so if it's best to leave it then so be it. 

When I was first diagnosed I was allocated a nwd nurse who gave me lots of written information. She then called me with my MRI results but didn't really explain things properly. I felt that once she knew I was transferring care to a doffeent hospital she couldn't really be bothered. 

I haven't been given contact details for the nurse at my new hospital, though she did call me last week to ask if I was okay so I suppose I could get it touch  However my quieries are more out of curiosity than concern so I'll probably just wait until my consultant appointment on the 6th. 

Hi ladies:

I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy on 23rd May and posted about it on 25th under "hysterectomy in rear view mirror." I wrote a summary of what it was like and maybe you'll find something useful.

I had a simple hysterectomy - kept ovaries, lost uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes. It was also robotic, which may account for the quickness. I also didn't have any nodes removed.

As to the catheter, it does seem different in the US from what I've read on here. My catheter was out 24hours after surgery, in fact, I wasn't allowed home until I could pass urine by myself. A friend of mine, who also had a hysterectomy, couldn't pass urine so they reinserted it and kept her in the hospital until she could. Many women on here seem to go home with a catheter, so maybe that's UK practice. 

I kept my ovaries too. They can play a protective role - even post menopausal- as they produce hormones etc even when they've stopped releasing eggs. My doc recommended keeping them, although she did say it was my choice, so I just went with what she said.

I was only in my hospital room for about 24 hours so I never got to wear jammies or a nightie. Funnily enough, I wasn't eeven tht swollen afterwards, although I did wear baggy yoga pants and a tunic top home. 

Let me know if I can help. It truly was no where near as bad as I thought it'd be.


Hi ladies 

Theresa thank you for the advise too , every little helps.

girl with the most cake (still giggle at the name ! Love it ) I had a call today to say pre op next Wed 22nd & op booked for week on Monday the 27th all happening very quick.(aaahhhh)

Can you not see consultant any earlier than the 6th July ? I paid £150 to go private to see them earlier ( just a thought )

keep me posted how your getting on 

Mel xx

By the way I would definetly get in touch if you have questions !


I had the lot out, ovaries, lymph nodes you name it! I would say 6 weeks is a bit optimistic for a return to work, I'm only finally going back to work this coming Monday in a very reduced capacity and my op was about 12 weeks ago but we are all different. Catheter was annoying but not painful, I had mine for 9 days. Def pack a nightie and your tummy will be swollen so comfy joggies for going home. Any questions don't hesitate to ask

Shazzl, it's interesting to hear that your recovery has been slower. Was your surgery laparoscopic? I did wonder if I'd need more than six weeks but the way my consultant said "because your job is quite physical you should take six weeks. I know you'll be bored, but it's best to recover fully before returning to work" made me feel as if six weeks was a long time to be off! I suppose I'll just need to wait and see how I am. Did you have to self inject with fragmin or similar when you got home? How many nights were you in hospital?

Confetti, my care is only so slow at my request. I'm off to Glastonbury on Tuesday for a week. I did have a consultant appointment when I got back but I changed it so that I could attend my daughter's graduation. I expect I'd be having my op around now if I hadn't requested to delay it.

Hi girlwiththemostcake,

You have some fab advice reading the replies to this thread.

One thing I would recommend is ear plugs incase you end up on a ward...hospitals can be one of the worst places to try and get some sleep!

Hope it all goes to plan and your recovery goes well.

Cara xxxxx

Very nice post. it is very interesting and informative post. Your advice is very useful. Thank you for your sharing.