A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the uterus.
A small incision is made in the navel through which a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon watches the image from
this camera on a TV monitor while performing the procedure. Two to three other tiny incisions are made in the lower
abdomen. Through these, specialized instruments are inserted and used for the removal process.
Most women do not have their ovaries removed when they undergo a hysterectomy. If the ovaries stay inside, the woman does not need to take any hormones after surgery and she does not have hot flashes. Women can choose either to keep the cervix in place (that's called a "supra-cervical hysterectomy") or remove the entire uterus ("total laparoscopic hysterectomy").
Keeping the cervix in place makes the operation a little faster and safer. Some people think that keeping the cervix in place is better for sexual enjoyment in the future. However, when the cervix is in place, there is a 5% chance that the woman will have monthly spotting at the time of her menstrual periods. Women whose cervices stay in place need to continue getting regular pap smears.
If the woman wants to be 100% certain that she will never menstruate again, she needs to have the entire uterus removed. If the patient has a history of pre-cancerous changes of the cervix or the uterine lining, she should have the entire uterus removed. If the operation is being done for endometriosis or pelvic pain, many doctors think the chances for pain reduction are better if the cervix is removed.