• Medical Innovation

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Tips from a gynecological surgeon on recovery from surgery

Dr. Megan Wasson in surgery

Every year, about 4 million gynecologic surgeries are performed in the U.S. Among these, hysterectomies are the most common, with over half a million procedures done annually, excluding those related to childbirth. 

Dr. Megan Wasson, a gynecologic surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive procedures at Mayo Clinic, says it's a priority to help patients in their recovery from surgery so they can get back to their lives as quickly as possible.

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"The biggest question I get is, 'When can I get back to life after surgery?' A lot of the patients that we care for have families and have jobs, and responsibilities outside of their own health," says Dr. Wasson.

Medical advancements help recovery from surgery

Balancing self-care and caring for others can be tough for patients. Quicker recovery time due to surgical advancements has helped.

Simulation model for robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy
Simulation model for robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy

"The advances that we've had in technology when it comes to surgical procedures have really pushed the envelope and allowed us to do the majority of gynecologic procedures through a minimally invasive approach," Dr. Wasson says.

Downtime as you recover from surgery can be a day or weeks, depending on the type of procedure. 

"But we do want normal physical activity to start even the day of surgery because that really helps maintain strength. It helps maintain normal body function, helps speed along the recovery," says Dr. Wasson.

Preparing for surgery

Recovery also can depend on preparation. Go in as healthy as you can be.

"The less stress you have, the better your diet is, the more rests that you've been getting, the more exercise — that's going to support your body for the stress of surgery, which in turn is going to help speed along the recovery," she says.

And, finally, Dr. Wasson says don't be afraid to ask for a helping hand.

"After surgery, be prepared for needing a little bit of help, needing a little bit of assistance until the pain and the fatigue lifts," she says. "It's very normal to need a little bit of help, and you just want to be prepared for that."

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