A hysterectomy is a surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in the inability to become pregnant (sterility). It may be done through the abdomen or the vagina.
During a hysterectomy, the uterus may be completely or partially removed. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed. A partial (or supracervical) hysterectomy is removal of just the upper portion of the uterus, leaving the cervix intact.
A total hysterectomy is removal of the entire uterus and the cervix. A radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, the tissue on both sides of the cervix and the upper part of the vagina.
A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal incision (abdominal hysterectomy), a vaginal incision (vaginal hysterectomy), or through laparoscopic incisions (small incisions on the abdomen—laparoscopic hysterectomy). Robotic hysterectomies are also performed in some cases at Northwestern Memorial.
Your physician will help you decide which type of hysterectomy is most appropriate for you, depending on your medical history and the reason for your surgery.