Difference between Hysterectomy and Hysterotomy

Updated on June 1, 2017

In the medical field, hysterectomy and hysterotomy bear strong associations. Although these surgical procedures are both performed on the uterus, they are far from being alike. This article provides information on the differences between the two.

Definitions

Hysterectomy
Types of hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure performed to completely or partially remove the uterus. Ideal for patients with abnormal uterine bleeding, cervical dysplasia, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, hysterectomy is an extensive procedure that may involve the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and other tissues.

Hysterotomy
Types of uterine incision (hysterotomy)

Hysterotomy, on the other hand, is a surgical incision of the uterus performed through the abdominal wall. Also known as abdominohysterotomy or uterotomy, it is carried out to access either the uterus or the fetus inside it. A popular operative procedure for open fetal surgery, hysterotomy is performed not only during caesarean section but during other gynecological procedures as well.

Hysterectomy vs Hysterotomy

So what’s the difference between hysterectomy and hysterotomy? Although many people use these terms interchangeably, these surgical procedures are completely different in a number of ways.

Firstly, hysterectomy is a medical procedure carried out to completely or partially remove the uterus, while hysterotomy is a surgical incision performed to access either the uterus or the fetus inside it. Hysterotomy may be conducted during hysterectomy and other gynecological procedures.

The surgical site also differs for both operative procedures. Depending on how the uterus should be medically removed, hysterectomy can either be vaginal or abdominal. Meanwhile, hysterotomy is always abdominal since the uterus cannot be accessed through the vaginal opening.

Thirdly, hysterectomy and hysterotomy are carried out due to differing medical conditions. Ideal for patients with cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and endometrial cancer, hysterectomy is performed to prevent the growth of cancer cells in parts of the female reproductive organ. Also, it is a popular treatment option for abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids (smooth muscle tumor in the uterus), uterine prolapse (movement of the uterus to the vaginal canal), and adenomyosis (abnormal thickening of the uterus).

By contrast, hysterotomy is a surgical incision conducted during caesarean section and other gynecological conditions such as open fetal surgery and hysterectomy. It is also the ideal surgical procedure for delayed fetal abortion, which is performed after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Lastly, depending on the patient’s existing needs, hysterectomy can be subtotal, total, or radical. During a subtotal hysterectomy, the top portion of the uterus is removed, keeping the cervix intact. Meanwhile, a total hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus and cervix and radical hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and the tissues surrounding it, the cervix, and the upper part of the vagina.

Hysterotomy, on the other hand, may be vertical or horizontal, depending on the patient’s needs and preferences.

Comparison Chart

HysterectomyHysterotomy
A surgical procedure performed to completely or partially remove the uterusA surgical incision of the uterus performed through the abdominal wall
Either vaginal or abdominalAbdominal

Used in cases of cervical cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, and adenomyosis

Used in cases of gynecological conditions such as caesarean section, open fetal surgery, hysterectomy, and delayed abortion

Types are subtotal, total, or radical

Types are vertical or horizontal