• A hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s womb (uterus). The womb is the area where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.


    During a hysterectomy, your doctor may remove the entire uterus or just part of it. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.

    Types of hysterectomy:

    • Partial (supracervical) hysterectomy: The upper part of the uterus is removed. The cervix is left in place.
    • Total hysterectomy: The entire uterus and cervix are removed.
    • Radical hysterectomy: The uterus, upper part of the vagina, and tissue on both sides of the cervix are removed. This is most often done if you have cancer.

    There are many different ways to perform a hysterectomy. It may be done through a surgical cut in either the belly (abdomen) or vagina. Types include:

    • Abdominal hysterectomy
    • Laparoscopic hysterectomy
    • Laparoscopy-assisted vaginal hysterectomy

    Your doctor will help you decide which type of hysterectomy is best for you. The specific procedure depends on your medical history and reason for the surgery.

    Why the Procedure is Performed

    There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy. The procedure may be recommended if you have:

    • Cancer of the uterus, most often endometrial cancer
    • Cancer of the cervix or a precancerous condition of the cervix called cervical dysplasia
    • Cancer of the ovary
    • Childbirth complications, such as uncontrolled bleeding
    • Long-term (chronic) pelvic pain
    • Severe endometriosis that does not get better with other treatments
    • Severe, long-term vaginal bleeding that is not controlled with other treatments
    • Slipping of the uterus into the vagina (uterine prolapse)
    • Tumors in the uterus, such a uterine fibroids


    The risks for any surgery are:

    • Allergic reactions to medicines
    • Breathing problems
    • Blood clots, which may cause death if they travel to the lungs
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Injury to nearby body areas

    After the Procedure

    After surgery, you will be given pain medicines to relieve any discomfort.

    You may also have a tube, called a catheter, inserted into your bladder for 1 to 2 days to pass urine.

    You will be asked to get up and move around as soon as possible after surgery. This helps prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and speeds up recovery.

    You will be asked to get up to use the bathroom as soon as you are able. You may return to a normal diet as soon as you can without causing nausea or vomiting.

    How long you stay in the hospital depends on the type of hysterectomy. Sometimes, you can go home the next day.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    How long it takes you to recover depends on the type of hysterectomy. Recovery may take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. Average recovery times are:

    • Abdominal hysterectomy: 4 - 6 weeks
    • Vaginal hysterectomy: 3 - 4 weeks