The two techniques used in performing a hysterectomy are traditional open surgery and an alternative surgical method called minimally invasive procedure, or MIP, explains WebMD. Open surgery requires accessing the uterus through a vertical or horizontal 5-to-7-inch incision in the abdomen, while MIP techniques use a device called a laparoscope, which allows access through the vagina or via one or more small incisions in the abdomen.
The most common type of procedure is the open abdominal surgery; 65 percent of all hysterectomies follow this approach, which leaves a visible scar, says WebMD. One MIP technique is called a vaginal hysterectomy, in which the surgeon makes a cut in the vagina and removes the uterus, leaving no scar. Another MIP approach is the laparoscopic hysterectomy, in which a tube with a camera is inserted, allowing the surgeon to perform the hysterectomy with tools inserted through one or more small cuts. A laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy combines these two MIP techniques and allows the surgeon to remove the uterus through the vagina, using laparoscopic tools. The fourth MIP procedure, called a robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy involves using a robotic system of tools while viewing the process on a three-dimensional screen.
Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a doctor removes all or part of the uterus, and the cervix and ovaries may also be removed, according to WebMD. In addition to considering the reason for the procedure, the doctor's experience and the overall health of the patient determine the type of hysterectomy performed.