What to expect after surgery

When you wake up from surgery, you will be in a recovery room near the operating theatre. Once you are fully conscious, you will be taken to your bed on the hospital ward.

Tubes and drips 

You may have an intravenous (IV) drip to give you fluid and medicine, a tube in your abdomen to drain fluid from the operation site, and a small plastic tube (catheter) in your bladder to drain urine. These tubes will be removed before you go home.

After the catheter is removed from your bladder, the nurses will perform a test to check that your bladder is emptying properly. This is done by measuring the amount of urine you pass each time you go to the toilet, then using an ultrasound scan to check that your bladder is empty. It is a quick, painless test that is done on the hospital ward.

Pain and discomfort

After a major operation it is common to feel some pain. You will be given pain medicine as a tablet, through a drip (intravenously) or through a catheter inserted in the spaces in the spine (epidural). If you still have pain, let your doctor or nurse know so they can change your medicine to one that provides more relief.

Moving your legs 

While you are in bed, you may have to wear compression stockings or “calf compressors” around your lower legs. These help the blood in your legs circulate and prevent blood clots forming in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis (deep vein thrombosis). You will be encouraged to walk around as soon as you can.

Recovery 

You will spend 3–5 days in hospital after a hysterectomy. The recovery time depends on the type of surgery and your fitness. You will be able to go home when the medical team is satisfied with your recovery and the results of your bladder function tests.


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This information was last reviewed in September 2019
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Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

Surgery
Surgery is a medical treatment performed by a surgeon or a surgical oncologist to remove cancer from the body or repair a part of the body affected by cancer

Recovery after surgery
What to expect in the hospital recovery room and ward

Caring for someone having surgery
Tips for the support person and visitors

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