What to expect before a hysterectomy

You’ll usually have some tests a few days or weeks before your operation at a pre-assessment clinic. These usually include blood and urine tests and a blood pressure check. Some women may also have a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram or ECG (heart tracing), or a heart scan (echocardiograph). The doctor or nurse will explain more about your operation and any tests you need.

Some hospitals follow an enhanced recovery programme to speed up your recovery and reduce the time you spend in hospital. You’ll usually be given information about diet and exercise before surgery, and any arrangements needed for you to go home will be put in place. You’ll be given some special drinks to take before surgery to help prepare your body. After surgery, you’ll be encouraged to move around as soon as possible and to start eating and drinking. Your doctor or specialist nurse will tell you if enhanced recovery is suitable for you. Not all hospitals use it.

If you smoke, try to give up or cut down before your operation. This helps reduce your risk of developing chest problems and will help your wound to heal after the operation. Your GP can give you advice and you may find it helpful to read our information on giving up smoking.

You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours before your operation. You usually go into hospital on the day of your operation or the day before. A doctor will explain more about your operation and ask you to sign a consent form. You also see an anaesthetist before your operation. A nurse may shave some of your pubic hair to make sure the area is as clean as possible to prevent infection.

Back to Hysterectomy

What is a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s womb (uterus). It is used to treat cancers of the female reproductive system.

Your feelings

It’s natural to feel strong emotions before and after a hysterectomy. Every woman will feel differently.