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Hysterectomy 101: Types of Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the parts of the female reproduction system. Hysterectomy is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States, with 570,000 cases performed in 2006.

Reproductive System

Depending on the reasons for getting a hysterectomy, one or more organs are removed:

  • Subtotal, Partial or Supracervical Hysterectomy - Only the uterus is removed. Sometimes performed as part of female-to-male transition, but Pap tests are still required post-op and 5% of patients will continue to experience a light menstrual cycle because because the cervix is not removed.

  • Total Hysterectomy - The uterus and cervix are removed. The Fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.) Commonly performed as part of female-to-male transition.

  • Radical Hysterectomy - The uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes, ovaries are removed along with the parametrium (round, broad, cardinal, and uterosacral ligaments) and the upper one-third to one-half of the vagina. Indicated in cases of advanced gynecologic cancer.

What is salpingo-oophorectomy? Quite a mouthful, isn't it?! Salpingo-oophorectomy refers specfically to the removal of the ovaries and Fallopian Tubes. When both ovaries and tubes are removed, it's called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. When only one ovary and tube are removed it's called a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

Hysterectomy Procedures

There are several different Hysterectomy procedures, falling into one of three categories:

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
These procedures are done using an instrument known as a laparoscope (a tube with a lighted camera) and surgical tools inserted through small abdominal incisions. "Lap hystos" are probably the most common hysterectomy procedures used for trans men. More »

Abdominal Hysterectomy
In this procedure, organs are removed through a 5-7 inch incision in the abdomen. This is the most invasive type of Hysterectomy, with higher risks and a longer recovery. More »

Vaginal Hysterectomy
This procedure involves removing organs through an incision in the vagina. This type of hysterectomy can only be done when the organs being removed are small enough to pull through the vagina. More »


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