A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and is the most commonly performed gynecologic surgical procedure. Most women decide to have a hysterectomy because they are experiencing pain or bleeding that interferes significantly with their quality of life and have no desire to bear children. There are four surgical hysterectomy procedure options, and Emory pelvic floor surgeons perform all four.



Length of Hospital Stay 


Average Recovery Time

Vaginal Remove the uterus by pulling it through the vaginal canal One night No visible scars Two to six weeks
Laparoscopic-Assisted Vaginal Using laparoscopic instruments, remove the uterus through the vaginal canal One night No visible scars  Two to six weeks
Laparoscopic Using laparoscopic instruments, remove the uterus through a small incision in the abdomen One night Two or three small scars Four to six weeks
Abdominal Remove the uterus by creating an opening in the abdomen Two or three days Large scar across the abdomen similar to a cesarean section scar Six to eight weeks

Every individual’s threshold for pain is unique. However, abdominal hysterectomy is generally associated with a higher degree of discomfort, while a vaginal hysterectomy is associated with the least amount discomfort. Emory gynecologic surgeons are trained to treat the most complex cases and have removed uteruses up to 1000 grams vaginally. If you have been told you need an abdominal hysterectomy, call 404-778-3401 and ask for one of our pelvic floor surgeons for a second opinion.

Factors considered when determining the appropriate route of hysterectomy include:

  • Size of the uterus
  • Size of the vaginal canal
  • Age and general health
  • Skill of the surgeon

The risk associated with hysterectomy is among the lowest for any major surgery. However, as with any surgical procedure, problems can occur. These problems could include:

  • Blood clots in the veins or lungs
  • Infection
  • Bleeding during or after surgery
  • Bowel blockage
  • Injury to the urinary tract or nearby organs
  • Problems related to anesthesia
  • Early menopause (especially, if ovaries are removed)

Generally, a hysterectomy does not cause sexual dysfunction. Following a hysterectomy, women no longer experiencing pain and heavy bleeding have reported improved sexual relations.

Hysterectomy for Fibroids

In most cases, pain and bleeding caused by fibroids diminish with menopause. However, women suffering from severe pain or excessive bleeding often decide not to wait for the onset of menopause. Listen to fibroid patients describe life before and after their hysterectomy.Click on each link to download an mp3 audio file, approximately 4M in size: 

Angela Benton describes living with fibroids and why she decided to have a hysterectomy. "My surgery was on Friday, and the following Thursday I went shopping."

Gayle Beard hoped menopause would come quickly and relieve her fibroid pain. Unfortunately, her fibroids grew so large that people thought she was pregnant. "I always wanted a flat stomach. Once I had the surgery, I saw the difference in my body."

After researching several options, Sally Kneubuehl decided to have a hysterectomy. She had been told her uterus was too large for a laparoscopic hysterectomy and that an abdominal hysterectomy was not appropriate for her situation. Gary Kneubuehl describes the suffering Sally endured for 12 years before coming to Emory.

Call 404-778-3401 to schedule an appointment.