Women's Health

Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy Procedures

If you've recently been diagnosed with a health condition that requires the removal of your uterus (hysterectomy), you may now be searching for information about the different types of procedures. You should discuss the various options with your doctor. Ultimately, your surgeon will determine the type of hysterectomy you'll need, based on the specific circumstances of your condition. The four types of hysterectomy procedures are:

  • Partial or supracervical hysterectomy. The cervix (lower end of the uterus) is left intact and only the upper part of the uterus is removed. Since the cervix is still there, there is a risk of cervical cancer, and regular pap screenings will still be required.
  • Complete or total hysterectomy. This is the most common type of procedure, and involves the entire removal of the uterus, including the cervix.
  • Total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This is a total hysterectomy, plus the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. As a result, the patient will go through what is known as surgical menopause. Ask your doctor about the best way to treat the symptoms of menopause.
  • Radical hysterectomy. The removal of the cervix, the uterus, the upper part of the vagina, and supporting tissues, including the lymph nodes (usually performed when cervical cancer is involved).

Different ways to perform hysterectomy surgery

If your doctor has recommended a hysterectomy, it's important to get as much information about the procedure as possible. How it's performed may provide certain advantages in the speed and ease of your recovery. For example, here are two methods for a hysterectomy:

  • During a traditional “open” surgery, a large incision is made to the abdomen in order to view the internal organs and remove the uterus.
  • With minimally invasive procedures, also called laparoscopic hysterectomies, surgeons use specialized tools inserted through smaller incisions. This approach typically results in less pain and scarring after the operation and may lead to a faster recovery.
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