You should discuss anaesthesia and post-op pain relief with your anaesthetist
Your anaesthetist is responsible for pre-medication before your surgery, your anaesthesia and wellbeing during surgery and your post-operative pain relief.
Ask your gynaecologist if you can meet with your anaesthetist before the day of your procedure. This way you won’t be hurried or stressed, and can be involved in the planning.
Types of anaesthesia
All methods of hysterectomy require either general or spinal anaesthesia. Spinal anaesthesia is often combined with a sedative.
With general anaesthetic you’ll be unconscious for your procedure and a tube will be inserted into your throat to help you breathe. You may wake up with a sore throat from the tube. General anaesthetics may cause post-operative nausea and vomiting.
If you’re overweight or obese, there are increased risks associated with general anaesthesia.
This is an injection of local anaesthetic into your back. It makes you go numb so you feel no pain during your operation, but you stay conscious. If you’re worried about being conscious during your procedure you can also have sedation.
Sedation is often used in combination with a spinal anaesthetic. Light sedation will make you feel relaxed while deeper sedation will most likely make you go to sleep so you’re unlikely to remember much or anything that happens during the surgery.
Your anaesthetist may offer you medication before your surgery. This could be to prevent nausea, reduce stomach acid or help you relax. If you think you’ll be feeling anxious before surgery, ask if you can have something to relax you.
Pain relief after surgery
You can expect some pain for the first few days after surgery.
You’ll be given pain relief prescribed by your anaesthetist. By enabling you to move and breathe without too much discomfort, good pain relief can help reduce your risk of complications.
Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is often used in the first day or so. This comprises an opiate drug delivered through a cannula into a vein. You can control the amount of pain relief you receive by pressing a button.
Injections of pain relieving medication can be delivered by intravenous cannula or into a muscle.
Pills, tablets or liquids can be given at regular times, or when pain starts to bother you.
Print this page to take when you meet with your gynaecologist and anaesthetist, so you can make sure all your questions are answered.