If you’re considering an abdominal myomectomy to address uterine fibroids, you’re not alone. Many women face this common medical issue, and surgical intervention can be a viable solution. Before you undergo this procedure, it’s crucial to understand it, the preparation required, and what to expect on the day of surgery.
What is an Abdominal Myomectomy?
A myomectomy is a surgical treatment used to remove uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that develop in the uterine wall or muscle. These fibroids can give rise to various distressing symptoms, including excessive menstrual bleeding, pelvic discomfort, frequent urination, pelvic pressure, and even fertility issues. Furthermore, uterine fibroids are considered one of the causes of a high-risk pregnancy, increasing the chances of miscarriage, preterm delivery, placental abruption, fetal breech presentation, and the necessity for a cesarean section. Abdominal myomectomy is one of the surgical methods used to treat this condition.
During an abdominal myomectomy surgery, a doctor makes an incision in your lower abdomen, often just above the pubic hairline or from the belly button to the pubic hairline in some cases. This incision will leave a scar, but it typically fades over time. This surgery aims to reduce the pain and heavy bleeding associated with fibroids while preserving your uterus.
It is essential to note that an abdominal myomectomy should not affect your ability to have children, and in some cases, it can even be performed to aid fertility. However, there is a slight risk that the surgery could harm the uterus, potentially leading to complications in future pregnancies. Therefore, consult with your doctor before the surgery.
How to Prepare for Surgery?
Surgery can be a daunting experience, but proper preparation can ease your concerns and ensure a safe and successful outcome. Here are some steps to take:
- Ensure you have someone to take you home after the surgery since the effects of anesthesia and pain medications may make it unsafe for you to drive.
- Understand the details of the planned surgery, including its risks, benefits, and alternative options.
- If you are taking any medications, particularly blood thinners like aspirin, consult your doctor regarding whether you should discontinue or continue them before the surgery.
- Disclose all medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you’re currently taking, as some may heighten surgical risks. Your doctor will advise on any adjustments needed before the procedure.
- Ensure that both your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive, or consider creating one if you haven’t already. This document outlines your healthcare preferences and is valuable before any surgical intervention.
On the Day of Surgery
On the day of your abdominal myomectomy surgery, there are essential steps to follow to ensure a smooth process:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding when to stop eating and drinking before the surgery. If you fail to do so, the procedure can be canceled.
- If you were instructed to take medications, take them with a small sip of water.
- Before your surgery, take a bath or shower and avoid using lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish. Additionally, do not attempt to shave the surgical site yourself.
- Take off all jewelry and piercings and remove contact lenses if you wear them.
- Bring a picture ID with you to the hospital or surgery center.
- The surgical area is typically marked to ensure no errors, and your anesthesia provider will take measures to keep you comfortable and safe during the procedure.
An abdominal myomectomy surgery generally takes about 2 hours to complete, and you can expect to stay in the hospital for 1 to 4 days, with a recovery period of 4 to 6 weeks.
When to Reach Out to Your Doctor?
Communicate with your doctor if:
- You have questions or concerns about the procedure.
- Any aspect of your pre-surgical preparations is unclear.
- You experience any signs of illness before the surgery, such as fever, flu symptoms, or a cold.
- There’s a need to reschedule or if you’ve reconsidered your decision to undergo the surgery.
Undergoing an abdominal myomectomy is a significant decision that can positively impact your quality of life. Proper preparation and communication with your doctor are essential to ensure the best possible outcome.