Here's The Difference Between A Partial, Total, And Radical Hysterectomy

Despite the fact that more than 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States, per John Hopkins Medicine, many details of these major surgeries, and why they can be necessary, are still a mystery to many. In plain terms, a hysterectomy is the removal of portions of the uterus, and, at times, the removal of other organs, such as the cervix, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, as well. After this operation, a woman will no longer be able to get pregnant, nor will she menstruate. Scripps Health reports that by age 60, one in three women in the U.S. will have had some form of the procedure.

Women receive hysterectomies at the advice of their doctors or simply because they wish to no longer conceive children. According to Cleveland Clinic, women can receive hysterectomies for a number of reasons, including abnormal vaginal bleeding, severe endometriosis, non-cancerous tumors, increased pelvic pain related to the uterus, uterine prolapse, and cervical or uterine cancer or abnormalities. If the ovaries are left intact, women will not experience any hormone-related effects. However, if the ovaries are also removed, women who have not yet hit menopause might experience symptoms that mimic menopause, such as hot flashes, low libido, and vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse. The Cleveland Clinic reports that a healthcare provider is likely to prescribe hormone replacement therapy to relieve these symptoms.

These are the differences between the varieties of hysterectomies

According to the Office on Women's Health, there are three different types of hysterectomies: a partial hysterectomy, total hysterectomy, and a radical hysterectomy. A partial hysterectomy, which is also called a subtotal or supracervical hysterectomy, is an operation that removes only the upper part of the uterus while the cervix remains in place. The ovaries may or may not be removed during this operation. A total hysterectomy is an operation that removes the uterus and cervix, while the ovaries and fallopian tubes may or may not be removed. Finally, a radical hysterectomy removes all of the uterus, cervix, the tissue surrounding both sides of the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may also be removed, depending upon the medical condition that requires the operation.

Just as there are different types of hysterectomies, there are also a number of techniques that surgeons employ to remove these organs. These techniques include the abdominal hysterectomy, which involves a large abdominal incision; a vaginal hysterectomy, which consists of a small incision in the vagina; a laparoscopic hysterectomy, which is a minimally invasive surgery that requires only small incisions; and a robotic hysterectomy, which is a laparoscopic procedure that uses a robot, according to Scripps. The robotic form has greater precision and control, says Scripps, and recovery time tends to be significantly shorter. "The choice will depend on why you are having the surgery, your medical history, and the surgeon's expertise," Dr. Tressa Lombardi told Scripps.