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Hysterectomy: Types of Surgical Incisions - Topic Overview

Your surgeon will recommend one or more types of hysterectomy (you may or may not have a choice, depending on your condition). An abdominal hysterectomy requires a larger incision. A vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy uses small incisions.

Abdominal hysterectomy. Two types of surgical incisions are used for an abdominal hysterectomy.

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  • The midline incision is made from just below the belly button (umbilicus) straight down the abdomen to just above the pubic hairline.
  • A transverse incision (bikini line) is made just above the pubic hairline.

Vaginal hysterectomy. During a vaginal hysterectomy, the incisions to remove the uterus are made on the inside of the vagina.

Laparoscopic hysterectomy. To allow insertion of a small viewing instrument (laparoscope) and surgical instruments, small incisions are made in the abdomen.

The vaginal and laparoscopic techniques are sometimes combined.

Laparoscopic surgery that is done using only one incision is called a laparoendoscopic single-site surgery (LESS) or single-port surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is also done using robotic equipment. This is called robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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