Surgery: Hysterectomy for fibroids

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OB/GYN appointments
If you’re looking to review fibroid treatment options with an OB/GYN provider or want a second opinion, please call: 310-794-7274

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If you already have a provider helping you manage a fibroid condition and are interested in MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) or uterine artery embolization (UAE) treatment, please call 310-481-7545.

The choice to have surgery to treat fibroids is not always an easy one. We give you the information and support you need to make a well-informed decision.

Should you choose to go forward, we’re equipped with the latest advances, providing you with a range of options. We offer advanced technology and surgical expertise in robotic-assisted and laparoscopic hysterectomy. You also receive care from surgeons holding board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirming their expertise.

Our surgeons will recommend the best approach for you. Some women only need fibroids removed, which spares the uterus. Others may need a hysterectomy to get relief.

What is a hysterectomy for fibroids?

A hysterectomy surgically removes either part of the uterus or the whole organ. The surgeon may also take out the fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix.

Most women undergoing hysterectomy do not need to have their ovaries removed, regardless of age. That situation can change, though, if doctors spot ovarian masses or other concerning issues before surgery or during the operation.

Hysterectomies are typically performed when other treatments won’t help fibroids or other chronic issues in the uterus or pelvis.

Hysterectomy types

There are two types of hysterectomies:

  • supracervical (“partial”) hysterectomy removes the uterus but leaves the cervix in place.
  • total hysterectomy removes the uterus and cervix completely.

There are also several techniques for performing a hysterectomy. The choice depends on your medical history and preferences, as well as the surgeon’s expertise. Techniques at UCLA include:

Laparoscopic hysterectomy 

In laparoscopic hysterectomy, surgeons can view and access the pelvis through a few small incisions in the abdomen. They typically remove the uterus through the vagina.

Sometimes, they remove the uterus through the incisions in the abdomen. They take this approach for partial hysterectomies or when the uterus is large.

Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic hysterectomy helps you recover faster and with fewer complications. You typically spend just a day (or less) in the hospital and recover in two to six weeks.

Despite the benefits, not everyone can have a laparoscopic approach. Women with extensive inflammation, infection or abdominal scarring from previous surgeries may not be eligible.

Robotic-assisted hysterectomy 

Like laparoscopy, robotic-assisted surgery uses special tools and avoids a large incision. This approach promotes a faster, less painful recovery. In addition, it allows even more complex surgery, as the surgeon can precisely control the robotic arms.

You typically spend just a day (or less) in the hospital and recover in two to six weeks.

Vaginal hysterectomy

Vaginal hysterectomy removes the uterus through an incision inside the vagina. There are no incisions on the abdomen.

By detaching the uterus internally, this minimally invasive technique shortens hospital stays and recovery time. You usually spend one night in the hospital and then two to six weeks recovering. The surgery also causes less pain afterward and avoids abdominal scars.

Abdominal hysterectomy

Considered an open surgery, abdominal hysterectomy removes the entire uterus through an incision in the abdomen. Abdominal hysterectomy allows the surgeon to easily see pelvic organs, which is especially useful for extremely large fibroids or other complications.

The hospital stay after abdominal hysterectomy can last from one to three days and recovery is generally four to eight weeks.