Suzanne R Trupin, MD
Dr. Suzanne Trupin is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from Stanford University and completed her medical training at New York Medical in Valhalla, New York. She received her residency training at the University of Southern California Women's Hospital in Los Angeles, California. She is Board-Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is a hysterectomy?
- How common is hysterectomy?
- Why is a hysterectomy performed?
- What tests or treatments are performed prior to a hysterectomy?
- How is a hysterectomy performed?
- What are the types of hysterectomies?
- Total abdominal hysterectomy
- Vaginal hysterectomy
- Laparoscopy-assisted vaginal hysterectomy
- Supracervical hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic supra cervical hysterectomy
- Radical hysterectomy
- Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries or Fallopian tubes)
- What are complications of a hysterectomy?
- What are the alternatives to a hysterectomy?
- Should women who have had a hysterectomy continue to have Pap smears?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are complications of a hysterectomy?
Complications of a hysterectomy include infection, pain, and bleeding in the surgical area. An abdominal hysterectomy has a higher rate of post-operative infection and pain than does a vaginal hysterectomy.
What are the alternatives to a hysterectomy?
As mentioned above, a hysterectomy for conditions other than cancer is generally not considered until after other tests or medications are unsuccessful. There are also newer procedures, such as uterine artery embolization (UAE) or surgical removal of a portion of the uterus (myomectomy), that are being used to treat excessive uterine bleeding. Endometrial ablation technique and newer medications are also alternatives.
Should women who have had a hysterectomy continue to have Pap smears?
Any woman with a history of abnormal Pap smears is recommended to have Pap smears for the remainder of her life. When the cervix has already been removed, these smears are more accurately called "vaginal cuff" smears, instead of Pap smears. This is because of the low, but real chance that cervical cancer can recur right at the surgical site where the cervix was removed.
In addition to women with a history of abnormal Pap smears, other women who require continued Pap smears are women with supracervical hysterectomy, in which the cervix was left in place. In this case, in contrast to the woman who has had hysterectomy for reasons of cervical cancer, the woman who has had supracervical hysterectomy will be able to follow the same screening guidelines as for other women who have not had surgery. For example, the physician can stop doing Pap smears at age 65 if the woman has been well-screened and has always had normal Pap smears.
Women who do not need to continue having Pap smears are those who have had vaginal hysterectomy or abdominal hysterectomy for benign (not cancer) reasons, such as uterine fibroids. Provided that they have had normal Pap smears prior to the procedure, they need not continue to have Pap smears after their surgery.
Previous contributing medical author and editor: Medical Author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Medically reviewed by Mikio A Nihira, MD; American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology
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