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Hysterectomy - abdominal - discharge


Alternative Names

Abdominal hysterectomy - discharge; Supracervical hysterectomy - discharge; Radical hysterectomy - discharge; Removal of the uterus - discharge

When You're In the Hospital

While you were in the hospital, you had surgery to remove part or all of your uterus. This is called a hysterectomy. The surgeon made a 5- to 7-inch (13- to 18-centimeter) incision (cut) in the lower part of your belly. The cut was made either up and down or across (a bikini cut), just above your pubic hair. You may have also had:

Most people spend 2 to 5 days in the hospital after this surgery.

What to Expect at Home

It may take at least 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel completely better after your surgery. The first two weeks are most often the hardest. Most people are recuperating at home during this period and do not try to go out too much. You may get tired easily during this time. You may have less appetite and limited mobility. You may need to take pain medicine regularly.

Most people are able to stop taking pain medicine and increase their activity level after two weeks.

Most people are able to perform more normal activities at this point, after two weeks such as desk work, office work, and light walking. In most cases, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for energy levels to return to normal.

After your wound heals, you will have a 4- to 6-inch (10- to 15-centimeter) scar.

If you had good sexual function before the surgery, you should continue to have good sexual function afterward. If you had problems with severe bleeding before your hysterectomy, sexual function often improves after surgery. If sexual function decreases after your hysterectomy, talk with your health care provider about possible causes and treatments.


Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital after your surgery. DO NOT drive yourself home.

You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 6 to 8 weeks. Before then:

DO NOT have sexual intercourse until you have had a checkup after surgery.

To manage your pain:

Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering. Having a friend or family member provide groceries, food, and housework for you during the first month is highly recommended.

Wound Care

Change the dressing over your incision once a day, or sooner if it gets dirty or wet.

You may remove your wound dressings (bandages) and take showers if sutures (stitches), staples, or glue were used to close your skin. DO NOT go swimming or soak in a bathtub or hot tub until your provider tells you it is OK.

Steristrips are often left on incision sites by your surgeon. They should fall off in about a week. If they are still there after 10 days, you can remove them, unless your provider tells you not to.

Other Self-care

Try eating smaller meals than normal and have healthy snacks in between. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink 8 cups (2 liters) of water a day to keep from getting constipated. Try to make sure and get a daily source of protein to help with healing and energy levels.

If your ovaries were removed, talk with your provider about treatment for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:


Baggish MS, Henry B, Kirk JH. Abdominal hysterectomy. In: Baggish MS, Karram MM, eds. Atlas of pelvic anatomy and gynecologic surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 12.

Gambone JC. Gynecologic procedures: Imaging studies and surgery. In: Hacker NF, Gambone JC, Hobel CJ, eds. Hacker & Moore's Essentials of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 31.

Jones HW. Gynecologic surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 70.

Review Date: 2/18/2017
Reviewed By: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.