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A total hysterectomy involves the removal of a woman’s uterus, cervix and surrounding tissue. This procedure may be recommended to treat ovarian and other gynecologic cancers, as well as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, prolapse of the uterus, abnormal vaginal bleeding and chronic pelvic pain. The determination of whether an ovarian cancer patient is a candidate for a total hysterectomy depends on several cancer-related factors, such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors like the patient’s age, fitness and coexisting medical conditions.

Oftentimes, a total hysterectomy is performed in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. These nonsurgical treatments may be administered prior to surgery or after surgery to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence. If a total hysterectomy is recommended to address ovarian cancer, a surgeon might also suggest a separate but related procedure called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes, which may be performed during the same surgical session.

There are two main types of total hysterectomy surgery:

  • A simple or total abdominal hysterectomy – The uterus is removed through an incision in the abdomen.
  • A vaginal hysterectomy – The uterus is removed through an incision in the vagina.

Additionally, a surgeon may use robotic assistance, as well as a minimally invasive technique called laparoscopy, to perform either type of total hysterectomy. When using a laparoscopic technique, a surgeon creates one or more tiny incisions through which he or she inserts a tiny camera and specialized instruments, and then removes the uterus while viewing the surgical site on a large external screen. This approach can eliminate the need for large incisions and thus minimize recovery time.

Women who are exploring their ovarian cancer treatment options are welcome to consult with the gynecologic cancer experts at Moffitt Cancer Center. We take a multispecialty approach to cancer treatment, and each of our patients has access to an entire team of talented professionals, rather than a single physician, who work together to design individualized plans. We also provide the latest advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support in a single, convenient location.

To learn more about total hysterectomy and other forms of ovarian cancer surgery available at Moffitt’s gynecological clinic, call 1-888-663-3488 or request to schedule an appointment online. We do not require referrals.


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