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Myomectomy and Preparing for Surgery

Updated on February 22, 2014

Having surgery to remove your fibroid tumor? Read on how to prepare for it.

There is a lot of information about fibroids, but not a lot about having a myomectomy. This lens talks about fibroids in general, what to ask your doctor, how to prepare for surgery (around the house and with your family) and tips on recovery.

If you are having surgery, this will give you an idea of what to expect.

What are Fibroids?

Many women are afflicted with a fatty tumor called fibroids. Uterine fibroids (leiomyomas) are common noncancerous (benign) tumors of the uterus. They grow from the muscular wall of the uterus and are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue.

In some women, uterine fibroids may cause heavy bleeding, pelvic discomfort and pain and create pressure on other organs such as your bladder causing you to urinate more often. Constipation and hemorrhoids are additional symptoms caused by the pressure of growing fibroids.It is important to note that symptoms like pelvic pain or unusual bleeding may not necessarily be related to the uterus or fibroids. Your doctor may perform tests such as trans-vaginal ultrasound, magnetic resolution imaging (MRI), and endometrial biopsy to determine the cause of your symptoms.

The purpose of this site is to discuss the pre and post-surgery procedures of fibroid removal . There are a lot of resources out there that talks about what fibroids are and various methods of removing them. I encourage everyone to learn more about them before opting for surgery. If you do choose surgery, then this is a great place to prepare yourself.

Do I Have Fibroids?

First things first, always consult with your OB/GYN. They will determine whether you have fibroiods or a different type issue.

The best person to talk to about potential future health issues is your mother and even your maternal grandmother. Most of the times, if they have medical issues, it could be passed down to you. My grandmother and mother both had fibroids and hence I have fibroids. Since I was 18 I had fibroids but they were always small and not something to worry about until I turned 30. My OB/GYN routinely did ultrasounds to monitor the fibroids. Then all hell broke loose where I had to rush to my GYN. I was bleeding abnormally. Upon further investigation, we discovered that my fibroids had grown since my last check up and was having a grand 'ole time. This could have been due to stress (yes, stress can affect your fibroids. Stress affects everything). At this point, Fiona (I nicked named my fibroids) were about 6 cm. My doctor recommended getting them removed.

Those were my symptoms, but again, women do have a variety. Some women don't have any symptoms. Regardless, I would urge any woman whose family has a medical history of fibroids to ask their OB/GYN to give them an ultrasound during their routine checkups.

From the Mayo Clinic, fibroid location influences your signs and symptoms:

- Submucosal fibroids. Fibroids that grow into the inner cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids) are thought to be primarily responsible for prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding and are a problem for women attempting pregnancy.

- Subserosal fibroids. Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids) can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing constipation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.

Some women can have both or just one type. Fibroids can be as few as one or many in various sizes. Again, consulting with your OB/GYN will determine this.

Preparing for you Doctor's Visit

Here are some things you can to prepare for your doctor's visit:

- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they're related.

- Make a list of any medications and vitamin supplements you take. Write down doses and how often you take them.

- Take a notebook or notepad with you. Use it to write down important information during your visit.

- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.

Questions you should ask? What would your doctor ask you? Visit: http://themyomectomyexperience.com/fibroids-introd...

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I Have Fibroids and I Want Them Out!

There are several other ways you can treat your fibroids, however this site focuses on myomectomy. In this surgical procedure, your surgeon removes the fibroids, leaving the uterus in place. Myomectomy options include:

- Abdominal myomectomy. If you have multiple fibroids, very large fibroids or very deep fibroids, your doctor may use an open abdominal surgical procedure to remove the fibroids.

- Laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy. If the fibroids are small and few in number, you and your doctor may opt for a laparoscopic procedure, which uses slender instruments inserted through small incisions in your abdomen to remove the fibroids from your uterus. Your doctor views your abdominal area on a remote monitor via a small camera attached to one of the instruments. Use of a surgical robot now allows for removal of more fibroids or larger fibroids.

- Hysteroscopic myomectomy. This procedure may be an option if the fibroids are contained inside the uterus (submucosal). A long, slender instrument (hysteroscope) is passed through your vagina and cervix and into your uterus. Your doctor can see and remove the fibroids through the scope. This procedure is best performed by a doctor experienced in this technique.

With this procedure, there is a risk of the fibroids coming back. My doctor removed all the fibroids, even the small ones. Some doctors will only remove the bigger fibroids and leave the small ones. When you remove the big ones, it leaves more room for the smaller ones to grow. Also, fibroids grow with a fetus and can potential suffocate the baby during its growth. You should ask your doctor if they can remove all of the fibroids.

Preparing for Surgery-The Discussions

This is a big step in removing your fibroids so you should prepare yourself and your family. Here are some things to do:

1. Select a day for surgery: Some doctors only do surgery on a particular day of the week so you should focus on what time of the year you want to have your surgery

2. Leave of absence: Depending on the type of work you do, you may need longer time off than others. If you tend to lift heavy objects, then you should take a longer time versus someone who is more stationary. This also depends on the person. Typically four weeks should be sufficient

3. Discuss with your human resource manager: There are several forms you may need to fill out before you take leave. Discuss your Short Term Disability options and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

4. Another discussion with family: Talk to your family about the surgery. They may have questions on what it is and the procedure. Most importantly, talk with the person that is going to take care of you after the surgery. There are several things they should know about your recovery.

5. Do you want a private room after surgery? Call the hospital in advance to see what it cost as well as your health insurance to see what they cover.

Preparing for Surgery-Around the House

Before surgery, there are things you should do and prepare so you won’t have to worry about it when you come home. Here are some things to consider

Cleaning the House. The worst thing is to come home to a messy house after surgery. You should do a thorough cleaning or hire a cleaning service to clean your house. You should definitely clean the areas you would frequent during your recovery such as your bedroom and bathroom. But cleaning your entire dwelling is best.

Preparing for Surgery-The Day Before

The countdown begins and tomorrow is the big day.

1. In the morning, your doctor’s office will call you to tell you the time of the surgery and when to get to the hospital. They will also give you instructions on what to do to prepare.

2. The hospital will also call you to confirm your surgery time and what to do to prepare.

More prep ideas? Visit: http://themyomectomyexperience.com/the-discussions...

Surgery Day

It's surgery day and you are heading to the hospital. As things are different depending on your doctor and hospital, there some consistent things to expect.

Checking In. When you get to the hospital, you need to check in with your insurance card and ID. After you check in, they will have you go into the changing room.

In the changing room. The hospital staff will give you a hospital gown, booties and a plastic bag to put your clothes in that you wore to the hospital. Then they will ask you to provide a urine sample and take blood to determine your blood type in case of emergency as well take your vitals. Make sure you take anything metal out of your hair like bobby pins. You can wear a scarf but it should be 100% cotton. Your surgeon/anesthetist may come out and talk to you and your family to discuss the procedure and ask any questions.

Operating Room. This part is pretty surreal. It does look like something out of Grey's Anatomy. This is where they prep you and put you under the anesthesia. Lights out and you are in la la land.

Do you have any questions about surgery day? Don't hesitate to ask below.

After the Surgery-In the Hospital

Pretty much, it's all a big haze. People come to visit you and you barely remember who came. Don't be concerned about being hungry. You won't be. Just pay attention to the nurse who tells you how to operate the painkiller button. It will become your best friend. Also, you will only be able to eat ice chips. Below is a day by day progression of my recovery, but everyone heal differently. So do not use this as an exact benchmark for your recovery, but it can help you to understand what comes next.

Day One: You are still in a haze, but better. Your diet consists of clear liquids like broth, gelatin, apple juice, decaffeinated tea . Depending on how you feel, they may take you off the pain killer and take the catheter out. What? No more pain killer?! Not the good stuff that you just push a button for, but they may put you on something like a high milligram of Motrin. It's also important that you try to start walking around. Take your time,you don't have to go far, but the more you walk and move, the better your recover. When you go to the bathroom, you may notice some blood. This is normal.

You will notice inflatable compression devices on your legs. Inflatable compression sleeves are used to help prevent blood clots from forming. When you go to the bathroom or a walk, put them back on. Blood clots are serious and can cause death. Yes, it's a pain to take them off and on because you have to ask someone to do it, but it can save your life.

You will also be asked to use a volumetric exerciser. A Volumetric Exerciser, or spirometer, is a post-operative recovery apparatus used most commonly after major abdominal and chest surgery to restore and strengthen lung functioning. It trains the lungs to increase inspiratory volume through a series of deep breathing sessions. The user gradually improves respiratory fitness by inhaling forcefully through a breathing tube attached to a clear plastic device that measures the volume of each inspiration. Each deep breath helps to reach and expand the small air sacs in the lungs. Use it several times a day. http://www.livestrong.com/article/469262-instructi...

For day two and beyond, visit: http://themyomectomyexperience.com/surgery-day/in-...

After the Surgery-At Home

You are finally released and heading home. This is where the fun starts. Most likely, you just want to a place to lay down (sitting upright may still be uncomfortable). You should just head straight to your recovery space to relax. Continue to do your breathing exercises with the volumetric exerciser, walk around and drink plenty of water. The road to recovery will be steady and every day the swelling in your stomach will go down. This recovery time is a good time to reduce or eliminate any bad habit foods you wanted to such ask cutting out coffee or fried foods. Use this as a starting point. Milk all the attention you can get and follow up with your doctor a week after you are home.

Find out more on what to expect when you get home: http://themyomectomyexperience.com/surgery-day/at-...

Tips in Recovering

1. Drink plenty of ice chips and water so you will not become dehydrated. The water will also help to flush out your system.

2. Get up and walk when you can.

3. Use the hospital bed functions:

a. If you want to get out of bed, press the button to go all the way down. Once your feet are planted on the ground, use the button to go up. That way there is less upward movement to stand. Make sure you use thigh muscles to get up

b. Use the back up and down functions to do sit ups. Gradually do this, but this will help to stretch your abdomen without doing actual sit ups

4. As long as you are in the hospital bed, always have the Inflatable compression sleeves on. Your nurse may say after awhile that you don't need it. Tell them you prefer to keep in on as long as you are in the hospital.

For more tips, visit: http://themyomectomyexperience.com/tips-in-recover...

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The Fibroid Surgery Experience Printables

Get the printable that will help you prepare for your surgery

If you like what you read download the Fibroid Surgery Experience Printables! This has all the resources on the site in a convenient pdf. You can print it out, write out your information and even save copies for your friends and family so they know what to expect.

Click on the book on the left of copy and paste the link below:

http://themyomectomyexperience.com/fibroid-surgery...

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    • profile image

      sheneselynes@hotmail.com 2 years ago

      hi can you send me some more information thank you

    • profile image

      jan 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for your information. Recently I found out that I have a 8cm fibroid and have to be removed. No family history, no symptom but I had period pain and pelvic pain. From your writing and other I have read so far everyone says they had heavy flow during their menstruation to the point of being anemic. In my case, I have maximum 2 days of heavy flow but after that just spotting ( I never had periods like this). Now I'm waiting for the operation day.

    • KayeSmith LM profile image
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      KayeSmith LM 3 years ago

      @Heidi Vincent: Thank you so much FreshStart7!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Good fibroid awareness and preparation lens, KayeSmith.