What is a vaginal hysterectomy?

  • vaginal hysterectomy is an operation to remove a uterus (womb) and cervix
  • the operation is carried out through the vagina; no cut is made on the abdomen. The top of the vagina is closed

Conditions leading to vaginal hysterectomy

Common reasons why a woman might be advised to have vaginal hysterectomy include:

Vaginal repair

If you also have a prolapse affecting the front or the back of the vagina, your surgeon may suggest repairing this at the same time. The additional surgery is called an anterior or a posterior repair.h

What does the operation involve?

During vaginal hysterectomy, the womb and cervix are removed through a hole that is made in the top of the vagina. Special surgical instruments are placed into the vagina to remove the womb from the ligaments that hold it in place. The incision made at the top of the vagina is stitched up. The operation normally takes around 1 hour to complete.

Vaginal hysterectomy may be performed under a general anaesthetic or regional anaesthetic (where you are numb from the waist down).

What is recovery after surgery like?

Most women stay in hospital for two days, but sometimes longer if necessary. On the first morning after your operation, the catheter will usually be removed. You will be able to eat, drink and move around.

Recovery time varies from woman to woman. It is important to remember that everyone's experience is different, and it is therefore best not to compare your own recovery with that of others on the ward. Although vaginal surgery does not produce a visible scar, this does not shorten the healing process.

The body will be using extra energy to build new cells and repair itself and patients may therefore feel tired for 4-6 weeks after surgery. Most women will resume driving and work within 2-4 weeks.

Further information

For more information about recovering from the operation, and what to expect on going home, read our information leaflet: Vaginal hysterectomy

External links:

Vaginal hysterectomy for prolapsed uterus