Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. This surgery can be performed through an open abdominal incision, through the vagina, or through a scope with several small incisions in the abdomen. Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed but the cervix is left in place. This is done through several (usually 3) small incisions. The most common reasons that this would be performed is for abnormal vaginal bleeding or for uterine fibroids.
Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy is done using a camera called a laparoscope. The uterus is removed from the cervix and the attachments to the body. It is then taken out of the body in small pieces using an instrument called a morcellator. This instrument is used inside the abdominal cavity. The morcellator cuts the uterus into small strips which can be removed through a 1 centimeter (about 1/2 inch) incision.
The advantage of a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy is the decreased recovery time. Most patients are able to go home on the same day and not have to spend a night in the hospital. Many patients return to work in as few as 2 weeks although some women may need more time depending on the type of work they do and how quickly they recover.
The disadvantage of this type of hysterectomy is that the cervix is left in place. A small percentage of women will develop spotting each month from the cervix and this can be annoying for some women. Also, because the cervix is still present, pap smear screening will still have to be done. It is possible to develop problems with the cervix that could require a procedure such as a LEEP cone biopsy or further surgery to remove the cervix.
This is one way that a hysterectomy can be performed. There are many considerations that may make this type of hysterectomy a better or a worse choice depending on the unique circumstance of the individual patient. Please talk with your gynecologist about what option is best for your situation.