Different Types of Hysterectomies

Which One Makes Sense for You?

Surgeons performing surgery in operating room
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A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of a woman’s uterus. Hysterectomies are typically performed to treat cancer, chronic pain, or heavy bleeding that has not been controlled by less invasive methods.

Because you cannot get pregnant after having a hysterectomy, other medications or procedures are sometimes tried beforehand. And some women just wait to have a hysterectomy until after they have completed their families.

 Just keep in mind that if you choose another option besides a hysterectomy, you may need additional treatment later.

As for what happens during a hysterectomy, there are three different types of hysterectomies that can be done, and which one your surgeon opts to perform depends on why you need to get one in the first place.

Complete or Total Hysterectomy 

This type of hysterectomy involves the removal of both the uterus and the cervix. The majority of women undergoing hysterectomies have a complete or total hysterectomy.

Partial or Subtotal Hysterectomy (Sometimes Called Supracervical Hysterectomy)

This type of hysterectomy involves the removal of the upper two-thirds of the uterus and leaves the lower third of the uterus, which is called the cervix, intact. Women who have never had an abnormal Pap smear result may be candidates for this type of hysterectomy. Some believe a partial or subtotal hysterectomy helps to reduce sex-related consequences.

Radical Hysterectomy

During a radical hysterectomy, the uterus, the cervix, the upper part of the vagina, and supporting tissues are removed. A radical hysterectomy may be necessary in certain cases of cancer.

When both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes are removed during a hysterectomy, it is referred to as a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

The bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is routinely performed in the United States.

Removal of the ovaries before a woman reaches natural menopause often causes induced or surgical menopause.

What Else Should You Know About Hysterectomies?

  • Hysterectomy Side Effects. Women who are advised to have a hysterectomy are often concerned about the effects of the procedure and how their bodies will respond to the absence of a uterus. These are valid concerns as the procedure can cause a variety of effects depending on which type of hysterectomy you undergo.
  • Before and After Hysterectomy Surgery. It's important to understand the surgical procedure itself, the conditions that make a hysterectomy medically necessary, and the details of any alternative procedures that may be more appropriate for you. You should also understand the risks, rewards, and differences between the types of hysterectomies.
  • Risks of Hysterectomy Surgery. A hysterectomy is one of the safest surgeries in America, but every surgery has risks. 
  • Questions To Ask Your Surgeon Before a Hysterectomy. A list of questions to ask your surgeon, designed to help you choose the right procedure, or alternative to surgery, for you.