Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. Your healthcare provider may also remove one or both ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. In some cases, he or she may remove other parts of the reproductive system.
The types of hysterectomy include:
- Total hysterectomy. Your provider removes the whole uterus including the cervix, but not the fallopian tubes or ovaries. It’s the most common type of hysterectomy.
- Hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy. Your provider removes one or both ovaries, and the fallopian tubes, along with the uterus.
- Radical hysterectomy. Your provider removes the uterus, cervix, and the top part of the vagina. The pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed. Some cases of cancer call for this surgery.
- Supracervical hysterectomy (partial or subtotal hysterectomy). Your provider removes the body of the uterus while leaving the cervix whole.
Hysterectomy techniques include:
- Abdominal hysterectomy. Your healthcare provider makes a large incision in your belly and removes the uterus. He or she will use this method to remove the fallopian tubes, when the uterus is enlarged, or when disease has spread to the pelvic cavity, as in endometriosis or cancer. The incision can be made from the navel down to the pubic bone, or along the top of the pubic hairline.
- Vaginal hysterectomy. In this method, your provider removes the uterus through the vaginal opening. It’s most often used for uterine prolapse, or when vaginal repairs are needed. You will not need an incision. This means there is no visible scarring.
- Laparoscope-assisted vaginal hysterectomy. Your provider uses a laparoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a video camera, for this method. He or she inserts thin tubes through tiny incisions in the belly near the navel. Your provider removes the uterus in sections through the laparoscope tube or through the vagina.
Your healthcare provider will decide the best method based on your situation.
If you have not yet reached menopause, having a hysterectomy means you will no longer have a period. You will also not be able to get pregnant.
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