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Hysterectomy for noncancerous reasons is usually considered only after all other treatment approaches have been tried without success.

Types of Hysterectomy

Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a surgeon may choose to remove all or only part of the uterus. Patients and health care providers sometimes use these terms inexactly, so it is important to clarify if the cervix and/or ovaries are removed:

  • In a supracervial or subtotal hysterectomy, a surgeon removes only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in place.
  • A total hysterectomy removes the whole uterus and cervix.
  • In a radical hysterectomy, a surgeon removes the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the& vagina. Radical hysterectomy is generally only done when cancer is present.

The ovaries may also be removed -- a procedure called oophorectomy -- or may be left in place. When the tubes are removed that procedure is called salpingectomy. So, when the entire uterus, both tubes, and both ovaries are removed, the entire procedure is called a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingectomy-oophorectomy.

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