What is a hysterectomy?

St. Mark's Hospital
A hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman's uterus (or womb). It may need to be done for many reasons.

Some are:
  • cancer
  • endometriosis
  • fibroids
  • pelvic pain
  • uterine prolapse
  • vaginal bleeding
Nearly 500,000 women have a hysterectomy every year in the United States.

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Juliet E. Leman, DO
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
A hysterectomy surgery to have your "tubes tied" may remove all or some of your reproductive organs. In this video, Juliet Leman, DO, of Women's Care of Colorado explains how hysterectomies are different based on which organs are removed. 
Kristine A. Borrison, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus. In this video, gynecologist Kristine Borrison, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital, describes this procedure -- and corrects one common misconception. 
Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus. Often times a woman's cervix and possibly her ovaries are removed at the same time that she has her uterus removed.  After a hysterectomy a patient will no longer have menstrual cycles and cannot become pregnant. The word hysterectomy means removal of the uterus so if a patient is having a hysterectomy, it does not mean that she is also having her ovaries removed. The surgery to remove the ovaries is a bilateral salpingooophorectomy. Some patients will use terms such as a partial or total hysterectomy, but these are just lay terms. 

When I talk about a hysterectomy to my patients, I explain that there are different ways to perform a hysterectomy. The most common way that a hysterectomy is performed in the United States is through a "bikini incision". This is called a total abdominal hysterectomy. 75% of hysterectomies performed in the United States are done in this manner. The next most common way that a hysterectomy is performed is a transvaginal hysterectomy. The entire hysterectomy is done through an approach through the woman's vagina.  The next most common way of performing a hysterectomy is a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy in which 3 small incisions are placed on the woman's abdomen, one in the bellybutton and one on either side of her lower abdomen, and the top portion of the uterus is detached laparoscopically and the bottom portion of the uterus is removed vaginally. 

There are newer ways of performing hysterectomies in which the entire procedure is done in a total laparoscopic manner. This is where the cervix and uterus are removed all through 3 or 4 small incisions on the patient's abdomen. This is a technically challenging procedure, and a lot of doctors do not feel comfortable doing this procedure, which is why it is less common. Many doctors will use the Davincci Robot to help assist in a total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Lastly, the newest procedure in hysterectomies is a single-incision laparoscopic hysterectomy in which all three instruments used to perform a hysterectomy are placed through a small incision in the patient's bellybutton. This is my favorite way of performing a hysterectomy, and this has the least amount of recovery time and has the best cosmetic effect.

William D. Knopf, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus or womb. The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. The whole uterus or just part of it may be removed. After a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant.
During the hysterectomy, your doctor also may remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries. The ovaries produce eggs and hormones. The fallopian tubes carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. The cervix is the lower end of the uterus that joins the vagina. These organs are located in a woman's lower abdomen, as shown in the image below.
If you have not yet reached menopause and:
You keep your ovaries during the hysterectomy, you may enter menopause at an earlier age than most women. Your ovaries are removed during the hysterectomy, you will enter menopause. You can talk with your doctor about ways to manage menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Types of hysterectomy:
Partial, subtotal, or supracervical removes just the upper part of the uterus. The cervix is left in place. Total removes the whole uterus and the cervix. Radical removes the whole uterus, the tissue on both sides of the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. This is done mostly when there is cancer present.
This answer is based upon source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and often the cervix. If the cervix is removed, the top of the vagina has a row of dissolvable stitches.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which a woman's uterus is removed. The uterus, also known as the womb, is the pear-shaped organ where a baby grows in a pregnant woman.

There are several different types of hysterectomies. Women undergo this procedure for any of several reasons, though hysterectomies are often performed to treat cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries or endometrium (lining of the uterus).
Hysterectomy is the most common non-pregnancy related major surgery performed on women in the United States.  This surgical procedure involves removal of the uterus and cervix and, for some conditions, the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Intermountain Healthcare
A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove all or part of the uterus. A total hysterectomy means that the whole uterus and the cervix are removed. Removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes is a separate procedure -- you and your doctor can discuss whether to combine this with your hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is one of the most common major surgeries among women. After a hysterectomy, a woman cannot become pregnant.
Ricardo E. Estape, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and the cervix. In this video, Ricardo Estape, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Baptist Health South Florida, discusses the procedure.
A hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus, says Cynthia Davis, MD, of Englewood Community Hospital. Watch this video to learn more. 
Learn about the surgical removal of the uterus, including reasons this procedure is performed and how new technology allows for less invasive procedures. Watch this video with gynecologist Arunachalam Jothivijayarani, MD from Blake Medical Center.

Continue Learning about Gynecology



There are many key areas in the field of female reproductive system health, including menstruation, pregnancy, fertility, and menopause. As a woman, you may be concerned about other issues related to your sexual health, including ...

genital problems and sexually transmitted diseases. If you are a female that is sexually active, or over the age of 18, it is important to begin seeing a womans' health specialist in order to make sure that your reproductive system stays healthy. Before that, any concerns with menstruation should be addressed with a physician. As you get older, most women become concerned with issues pertaining to avoiding or achieving pregnancy, until menopause begins around age 50.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.