A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. Hysterectomies are used to treat problems of the uterus, including fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic support problems, abnormal uterine bleeding, cancer, and chronic pelvic pain, among others.
After a hysterectomy, a woman's periods will stop and she can no longer get pregnant.
There are several types of hysterectomy. The type of procedure used depends on the individual patient and her condition.
Abdominal hysterectomy. An incision is made in the lower abdomen to reach the uterus, resulting in longer healing time than vaginal or laparoscopic surgery.
Vaginal hysterectomy. The surgery is done through the vagina. Because the incision is inside the vagina, the healing time may be shorter than with abdominal surgery.
Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH). The uterus is removed through the vagina. Laparoscopic surgery is performed using a laparoscope, a thin, lighted telescope inserted through a small incision in the abdomen, enabling the doctor to see the pelvic organs on a screen while doing the surgery. Recovery from LAVH is similar to vaginal hysterectomy.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy. The uterus is removed in pieces through small incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic hysterectomy has a shorter recovery time than abdominal or vaginal hysterectomy.