What's The Difference Between A Total And A Partial Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus, according to the National Health Services (NHS). The surgery is typically performed to treat various gynecological conditions, such as uterine prolapse, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and chronic pelvic pain. A hysterectomy is important because it can provide relief from symptoms such as heavy or prolonged bleeding, pain, or discomfort caused by those conditions. It can also be an effective treatment for cancers of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries, and may be necessary to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, explains the NHS.

While it can provide significant benefits, other treatments are also available that your doctor can advise on. A hysterectomy is a major surgery and should only be performed after careful consideration and consultation with a doctor. Depending on the extent of the condition, there are two main types of hysterectomy: total and partial.

Total vs. partial hysterectomy

According to Mayo Clinic, a total hysterectomy involves the removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix. On the other hand, a partial hysterectomy, or supracervical hysterectomy, only involves the removal of the upper part of the uterus. The cervix is left intact, and the ovaries may or may not be removed, depending on your unique circumstances, per the Moffitt Cancer Center.

A hysterectomy can be performed through several surgical techniques, including abdominal and vaginal hysterectomies (via Stanford Health Care). Abdominal hysterectomy is a traditional method where the uterus is removed through an incision in the abdominal wall. A vaginal hysterectomy is where the uterus is removed through the vagina without the need for an abdominal incision. Additionally, there are also minimally laparoscopic hysterectomies and robotic-assisted hysterectomies.

The choice between a total or partial hysterectomy will depend on several factors, per Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. These include the reason for the surgery, the patient's overall health, the uterus size, and whether the procedure is elective or medically necessary.

What are the risks associated with a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy carries certain side effects, risks and potential complications. These may include excessive bleeding during or after the surgery, which can sometimes require a blood transfusion, per the NHS. In addition, there may also be an allergic reaction to anesthesia, or injury to the nerves. Infection is another risk, which can develop in the surgical incision or other parts of the body, says Health Central. Blood clots can also occur. This can put the patient at risk for life-threatening complications such as deep vein thrombosis, per the Mayo Clinic.

Generally speaking, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of a hysterectomy with your doctor, as well as your individual medical history and health status, before undergoing the procedure. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits of the procedure and determine if a hysterectomy is right for you. Additionally, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to minimize risks and ensure a smooth recovery.