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Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It is done to treat certain gynecological conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids, cancer, uterine bleeding that hasn't responded to other treatments, and childbirth complications. It can also be done as part of gender-affirming surgery.

A total (complete) hysterectomy is removal of the uterus and cervix. A subtotal (also called partial or supracervical) hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. In this case, the cervix is left in place.

A radical hysterectomy is done for some cancers. It is the removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, structures that support the uterus, and sometimes the lymph nodes.

The uterus can be removed through:

  • An incision in the vagina (vaginal hysterectomy).
  • An incision or several small incisions in the lower belly (abdominal hysterectomy).
  • Laparoscopy. This is less invasive than other methods. A lighted tube and scope (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision. The uterus can then be removed through a small incision in the belly or in the vagina (laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy).

The ovaries may be removed along with the uterus. The decision about whether to remove or leave the ovaries is based on your wishes and health issues.