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Abdominal hysterectomy

Thomas G Stovall, MD
William J Mann, Jr, MD
Section Editor
Howard T Sharp, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) may be performed using an abdominal, vaginal, or laparoscopic approach. Abdominal hysterectomy refers to removal of the uterus via a laparotomy. Either total hysterectomy (uterus including cervix) or subtotal (supracervical) hysterectomy may be performed. The ovaries may or may not be removed at the time of hysterectomy. The choice of surgical approach depends upon clinical circumstances, the surgeon's technical expertise, and patient preference. (See "Choosing a route of hysterectomy for benign disease".)

Issues related to abdominal hysterectomy will be reviewed here. Other approaches to hysterectomy are discussed separately. (See "Choosing a route of hysterectomy for benign disease" and "Vaginal hysterectomy" and "Laparoscopic hysterectomy" and "Radical hysterectomy".)


The indications for, and alternatives to, hysterectomy are presented elsewhere. (See "Choosing a route of hysterectomy for benign disease".)


Complete preoperative evaluation and counseling helps to set patient expectations and prepare for, or prevent, perioperative complications. An overview of issues pertaining to preoperative preparation and assessment, including women with medical comorbidities, can be found separately. (See "Overview of preoperative evaluation and preparation for gynecologic surgery".)

Surgical planning — Discussion of a patient's choices regarding surgical approach (eg, retention of ovaries or cervix) should be documented in the medical record and on the consent form.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 16, 2017.
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