There are three major types of hysterectomy:
- Total hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and the cervix, which is the lower "neck" of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
- Subtotal hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, leaving the cervix in place. It is also known as "supracervical" or "partial" hysterectomy.
- Radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, structures that support the uterus, and sometimes the lymph nodes. A radical hysterectomy may be done to treat endometriosis or cancer of the uterus, ovaries, or cervix.
Deciding whether to have a total or subtotal hysterectomy can be difficult. This is because research that compares the two is limited and shows only small differences. In the past, experts believed that a subtotal hysterectomy reduced problems after surgery and prevented problems with urinary incontinence and/or sexual dysfunction. But research has shown that for certain conditions, a subtotal hysterectomy does not prevent these problems better than a total hysterectomy does.1
When considering a hysterectomy, ask your doctor what other treatments can be used for your condition, what hysterectomy options are available to you, and how well hysterectomy is likely to work for you. If you have a hysterectomy, the type of procedure you have will depend on the medical reason for the hysterectomy, the size and position of your uterus, and your general state of health.
Hysterectomy procedures (how the uterus is removed) include:
- Abdominal hysterectomy.
- Vaginal hysterectomy.
- Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH).
- Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH).
- Total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH).