A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman's uterus. A woman may have a hysterectomy for different reasons, including:

  • Uterine fibroids that cause pain, bleeding, or other problems
  • Uterine prolapse, which is a sliding of the uterus from its normal position into the vaginal canal
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
  • Endometriosis
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus

 

Hysterectomy for noncancerous reasons is usually considered only after all other treatment approaches have been tried without success.

Hysterectomy may be total (removing the body, fundus, and cervix of the uterus; often called "complete") or partial (removal of the uterine body while leaving the cervix intact; also called "supracervical"). It is the most commonly performed gynecological surgical procedure.

Removal of the uterus renders the patient unable to bear children (as does removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes) and has surgical risks as well as long-term effects, so the surgery is normally recommended when other treatment options are not available or have failed.

Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) is frequently done together with hysterectomy to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.

 

Recovery

Hospital stay is 3 to 5 days or more for the abdominal procedure and between 1 to 2 days (but possibly longer) for vaginal or laparoscopically assisted vaginal procedures.