During a hysterectomy, a surgeon removes all or part of the uterus, according to WebMD. Depending on the procedure, a hysterectomy may also involve removing the cervix, the ovaries and some vaginal tissue. The reason for the hysterectomy dictates the extent of the removal.
There are three types of hysterectomies, including subtotal or supracervical, total and radical hysterectomies, notes WebMD. The subtotal hysterectomy is the least complex. It involves removal of the upper part of the uterus only, leaving the cervix intact. The total hysterectomy involves the removal of both the whole uterus and the cervix. The radical hysterectomy, used only when cancer is present, involves removing the entire uterus and tissue on the sides of the top part of the vagina, the cervix and the uterus.
Both open surgery and less-invasive techniques exist for performing a hysterectomy, based on the surgeon’s experience, the woman’s health and other factors, advises WebMD. Open surgery accounts for around 65 percent of all procedures and involves making an incision in the stomach for removing the uterus. Most women stay around three days in the hospital after having an open hysterectomy. Less-invasive techniques include using a laparascope inserted through small incisions in the belly or belly button to remove the uterus.