There are a number of different types of anaesthetic and most hysterectomies are performed while the patient is under a full anaesthetic. This will knock you out throughout the operation and you will eventually come round in the recovery room. However, this type of anaesthetic can have side effects which may include nausea and dizziness, an incredible tiredness for several days, not being able to think clearly for at least 24 hours after your surgery. It can also take several months for the anaesthetic to work its way out of your body completely (drinking plenty of water and taking enough exercise can help this enormously).
BUT, all is not lost, if you have had a bad experience with anaesthesia previously, it may be possible to do a hysterectomy with just a spinal block (epidural). This will mean that you are awake during surgery and may even be fully aware of everything that is going on (although some women have reported that they are in a sort of ‘twilight’ and don’t remember too much of the surgery afterwards).
To have an epidural you will need to have a reasonably calm temperament as anxiety will interfere with the anaesthetic used. You will also need to be able to withstand pain, as 100% pain relief cannot be guaranteed throughout the entire operation. Finally, you should agree with your anaesthetist in advance about how you might be able to let him (or her) know if you find you cannot cope.
HOWEVER, an epidural may not be available in all hospitals, and you will need to ask both your gynaecologist AND the anaesthetist if they are happy to perform surgery in this way.
I recently received this from one of our lovely users called Judith. She says “Hi Linda I had my hysterectomy 3 weeks ago, still struggling on with the recovery a n d had some post operation complications, which I won’t go into now. I have however just read about anaesthetic, I had a spinal which at the time I was terrified about, due to me having fibromyalgia my anaesthetic didn’t want me to have a general anaesthetic, I said I did not want to be awake so he sedated me as well. I had no recollection whatsoever about any of it thankfully, it helped with pain control too for a while till it wore off. So I had no post anaesthetic probes at all, had a g a six .months ago and felt terrible for a good four weeks after,so I could recommend it however scared I was at the time!!“