Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s womb (uterus). The uterus is a hollow muscular organ that nourishes the developing baby during pregnancy.
You may have all or part of the uterus removed during a hysterectomy. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
There are many different ways to perform a hysterectomy. It may be done through:
- A surgical cut in the belly (called open or abdominal)
- Three to four small surgical cuts in the belly and then using a laparoscope
- A surgical cut in the vagina, and using a laparoscope
- Three to four small surgical cuts in the belly, in order to perform robotic surgery
You and your doctor will decide which type of procedure. The choice will depend on your medical history and the reason for the surgery.
An abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus through an incision in your lower abdomen. Your uterus — or womb — is where a baby grows if you’re pregnant. A partial hysterectomy removes just the uterus, leaving the cervix intact. A total hysterectomy removes the uterus and the cervix.
Sometimes a hysterectomy includes removal of one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes, a procedure called a total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy (sal-ping-go-o-of-uh-REK-tuh-me).
A hysterectomy can also be performed through an incision in the vagina (vaginal hysterectomy) or by a laparoscopic or robotic surgical approach — which uses long, thin instruments passed through small abdominal incisions.
An abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended over other types of hysterectomy if:
- You have a large uterus.
- Your doctor wants to check other pelvic organs for signs of disease.
- Your surgeon feels it’s in your best interest to have an abdominal hysterectomy.