Abdominal Hysterectomy

In an abdominal hysterectomy, your surgeon can perform any type of hysterectomy (total, partial, or radical hysterectomy) through a horizontal or vertical incision made in your lower abdomen. It will leave a large, visible hysterectomy scar on your stomach.

For your abdominal hysterectomy, you will be under general anesthesia. The length of the surgery will depend on your condition and your surgeon’s skill level, but will last about three hours.¹

The surgeon will make either a vertical or horizontal incision in your abdomen.  If a surgeon needs better access to your entire abdomen, he/she will use a vertical incision. When the incision heals, you will be left with a large visible hysterectomy scar on your stomach.  If you have a horizontal incision, the hysterectomy scar may be covered by your underwear.

Benefits of Abdominal Hysterectomy

Experts recommend that abdominal hysterectomy should be considered if all other approaches are not possible.² There are several reasons an abdominal hysterectomy may be the best option.

  • Your uterus is very large
  • Your vagina is very narrow
  • You have a cancer diagnosis of the uterus or cervix and the cancer may have spread to surrounding organs

Risks of Abdominal Hysterectomy

Abdominal hysterectomy is the most invasive approach to hysterectomy.  Studies show that abdominal hysterectomy has a greater risk of complications than other approaches approaches.3,4

When comparing abdominal hysterectomy to vaginal Hysterectomy, abdominal hysterectomies had:

  • Longer hospital stays
  • Slower recovery times
  • Higher blood loss
  • Higher operating time
  • More complications, like infection
  • Large, visible hysterectomy scars
  • More expensive to patients

When comparing abdominal hysterectomy to laparoscopic hysterectomy, abdominal hysterectomies had:

  • Lower recovery times
  • Longer hospital stays
  • Higher blood loss
  • More infections
  • More pain
  • Larger and more visible hysterectomy scars
  • Fewer urinary tract injuries, shorter operating times

Preparing for Hysterectomy

To best prepare for hysterectomy, you should do a lot of research to determine which treatment is right for you. Learn more.

Recovery from Hysterectomy

It’s important to prepare for your hysterectomy recovery. Learn more.

Life after Hysterectomy

Many women wonder what life will be like or after hysterectomy surgery. Learn more.


  1. Wright K, et al. Costs and Outcomes of Abdominal, Vaginal, Laparoscopic and Robotic Hysterectomies. JSLS (2012) 16:519-524
  2. Safety in gynecologic surgery: A roundtable discussion, OBG Management Supplement, Lonky, Gebhart, Kho, Munro, October 2015, obgmanagement.com
  3. ACOG Committee Opinion. Choosing the Route of Hysterectomy for Benign Disease. Nov 2009. Reaffirmed 2011.
  4. Chen et al. Comparison of vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy: A prospective non-randomized trial. Pak J Med Sci 2014. Vol. 30. No. 4

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