(Surgical Removal of the Uterus; Abdominal Hysterectomy)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.
Hysterectomy is the surgical term for the removal of the uterus. This results in the inability to become pregnant.
There are different types of surgeries, such as:
Reasons for Procedure TOP
You may have a hysterectomy if your uterus is causing health problems that cannot be treated by other means. Some reasons a woman may have a hysterectomy are to:
Explore your options before having a hysterectomy. There are other treatments for many of these problems.
Possible Complications TOP
If you are planning to have hysterectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
The following may also increase the risk of complications:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
You should do the following:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the surgery.
Description of the Procedure TOP
You may be given antibiotics just before your surgery.
Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive. This means that small incisions are made, rather than the large incisions that are used during open surgery.
Laparoscopic-Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy
Similar to the above surgery, small incisions will be made in the abdominal area and tools will be inserted. Incisions will be made in the vagina to help detach the lower portion of the cervix and the uterus. The cervix and uterus will then be removed through the vaginal opening.
A hysterectomy can also be done using robotic technology. Like the laparoscopic procedures, tools are placed through small incisions in the abdominal area. The doctor, though, sits at a console and views the organs via a monitor that displays a 3D image. The surgery is done using a joystick-like device to control the tools.
Immediately After Procedure TOP
You will be given IV fluids and medications.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
1-3 hours—although it may take longer
Will It Hurt? TOP
You will not have pain during the surgery because of the anesthesia. During your recovery time, you will be given pain medication.
Average Hospital Stay TOP
You may be able to leave the hospital on the same day or the next day. You will stay longer if you have complications.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Hospital
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
When at home, take these steps to care for yourself:
Note: If the doctor has not removed your cervix, you will need to continue to have Pap smears to check for cervical cancer.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Hysterectomy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 2015. Accessed October 7, 2015.
Hysterectomy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116102/Hysterectomy. Updated April 25, 2016. Accessed December 2, 2016.
The treatment: robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy. UC Davis Health System website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 7, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2014
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