Abdominal Hysterectomy

Abdominal Hysterectomy

WomanCare Clinic

Meriter WomanCare Clinic
20 S. Park Street, Suite 450
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 417-5433 or 1-888-409-3852

UW Health - OB/GYN
20 S. Park Street, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 287-2830


An abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus through a horizontal or vertical incision in the lower abdomen.

Alternative Names

  • Total Hysterectomy
  • Complete Hysterectomy

An Abdominal Hysterectomy may be recommended for women who have:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Gynecological cancers

What is an Abdominal Hysterectomy?

Abdominal hysterectomies are usually performed to take out very large fibroids or malignant (cancerous) tumors. The abdominal hysterectomy is the most common type of hysterectomy and is also the most invasive. In the United States, 650,000 abdominal hysterectomies are performed each year. Therefore, three-fourths of the hysterectomies performed are through an abdominal incision. With the development of the laparoscopy hysterectomy surgical program at Meriter Hospital, that trend has been reversed. At Meriter Hospital, less than 30% of all hysterectomies are done through an abdominal incision.

A six to eight inch vertical or horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen to reach the uterus. The vertical incision is made in the middle of the abdomen and goes from the navel to the top of the pubic bone. A horizontal incision is made across the bikini-line. The type of incision will be determined by the doctor in order to best fit the patient’s needs.

Once the incision is made, the uterus is detached from the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and connective tissue. The uterus is then removed through the vertical or horizontal abdominal incision.

After having an abdominal hysterectomy, the patient’s period will stop. If the ovaries are kept in place, then they will continue to produce hormones.


An abdominal hysterectomy requires a longer healing time than a vaginal, laparoscopic or supracervial hysterectomy. An abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days. The patient may experience mild pain for the first week or two after surgery.