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A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus. Depending on the reason for the hysterectomy, a surgeon may choose to remove all or only part of the uterus. Patients and health care providers sometimes use these terms in exactly, so it is important to clarify if the cervix and/or ovaries are removed:
• A supracervical or subtotal hysterectomy eliminates only the upper part of the uterus, keeping the cervix in position.
• A total hysterectomy eliminates the whole uterus and cervix.
• A radical hysterectomy eliminates the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina. Radical hysterectomy is commonly done when cancer is present.