- Total hysterectomy is removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix. Laparoscopic hysterectomy involves removing the entire uterus with minimally-invasive techniques. A normal sized uterus, once it is detached from its supports, can be removed through the vagina. A large uterus can be reduced to smaller pieces using a laparoscopic morcellator.
- Supra-cervical hysterectomy is removal of the upper part of the uterus, but not the cervix.
Benefits to supra-cervical hysterectomy include slightly faster surgery and shorter recovery time.
The only medical reason for removing the cervix is to prevent cancer of the cervix. If a woman is at low risk for this problem, then the cervix may be left in place, as long as she agrees to continue having regular Pap smears performed.