It may be done through the abdomen or the vagina. It is also known as: vaginal hysterectomy; abdominal hysterectomy; laparoscopic hysterectomy; supracervical hysterectomy; radical hysterectomy; and removal of the uterus.
Hysterectomy is an operation that is commonly performed. There are many reasons a woman may need a hysterectomy; however, there are non-surgical approaches to treat many of these conditions.
During a hysterectomy, the uterus may be completely or partially removed. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed.
A partial (or supracervical) hysterectomy is removal of just the upper portion of the uterus, leaving the cervix intact.
A total hysterectomy is the removal of the entire uterus and the cervix. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, the tissue on both sides of the cervix (parametrium), and the upper part of the vagina.
A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal incision (abdominal hysterectomy), a vaginal incision (vaginal hysterectomy), or through laparoscopic incisions (small incisions on the abdomen or laparoscopic hysterectomy).
Removal of the entire uterus and the cervix is referred to as a total hysterectomy. Removal of the body of the uterus without removing the cervix is referred to as a subtotal hysterectomy.
James Blundell, a London obstetrician, performed the first successful hysterectomy in 1828. He also proposed doing a Caesarean hysterectomy (removing the uterus with the baby inside) to save the life of the mother (and the baby). Blundell is considered a founder of modern abdominal surgery.
As opposed to an abdominal hysterectomy, a vaginal hysterectomy refers to the removal of the uterus through a surgical incision within the vagina. With a vaginal hysterectomy, the scar from the procedure is not outwardly visible.