There are four types of hysterectomy operation:

  • A “subtotal hysterectomy” removes the uterus leaving the cervix in place. If you have this operation you will need to continue to have smear tests.
  • A “total hysterectomy” removes the complete uterus including the cervix, this is the operation most commonly performed.
  • A “total hysterectomy with bilateral or unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy” removes the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and both or one of the ovaries.
  • A “Wertheim’s hysterectomy” removes the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, fallopian tubes, peritoneum ( this is the broad band of ligament below the uterus), the lymph glands and fatty tissue of the pelvic region.

The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic however, it can also be performed with a spinal block which is an anaesthetic where the needle passes through the dural membranes into the cerebral spinal fluids which surround the spinal cord; once released, the drug acts within a few seconds and there is a complete block to all the motor and sensory functions.

In addition to the different types of operation, there are a number of different ways to perform a hysterectomy. The most common way is to remove the uterus through a cut in the lower abdomen, the second, less common way is to remove the uterus only through a cut in the top of the vagina, the top of the vagina is then stitched. Each operation lasts between one to two hours and is performed, in the hospital, under a general anaesthetic.

Recommended Reading:

101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy is essential reading and tell you everything you need to know about menopause after a hysterectomy.