Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about hysterectomy (removal of the uterus or womb). Learn how the surgery is done, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how this surgery is done, view our animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for hysterectomy and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost. The costs differ depending on the type of surgery.

Abdominal hysterectomy

Vaginal hysterectomy

Laparoscopic hysterectomy

Learn about hysterectomy

This short animation shows how the different types of hysterectomy are done. See how your uterus (and, if necessary, your ovaries and fallopian tubes) are accessed and removed.

The basics

What is a hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy means removal of your uterus, or womb, and is one of the most common types of elective operations performed on women in Australia.

Why is it done?

Common reasons for your doctor recommending a hysterectomy include:

  • fibroids (benign tumours, also referred to as myomas)
  • cancer of the cervix, uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes
  • menstrual problems (such as very heavy bleeding or excessive pain)
  • endometriosis (uterine glands that grow in other pelvic tissues)
  • adenomyosis (when the lining of your uterus grows into surrounding muscles)
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (chronic infection)
  • uterine prolapse (uterus pushing into the vagina).

Some women who carry a gene for breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) elect to have a preventative hysterectomy to lower their cancer risk.

A hysterectomy may well be the best treatment for your problem but make sure you explore other options beforehand. Your gynaecologist should be able to discuss the available treatments with you and give you expert advice on other options.

Where is it done?

A hysterectomy is done in an overnight hospital. You can expect to stay in hospital overnight after a keyhole or vaginal procedure and 1–2 days after abdominal surgery. If you’ve had a hysterectomy because of cancer, your stay may be longer.

How long does it take?

It varies considerably, but may take between 1–3 hours.

Who’s involved?

  • your gynaecologist
  • an assistant surgeon
  • anaesthetist
  • nurses
  • radiologist
  • pathologist.

The details


Alternatives to hysterectomy

Options that may be able to delay or replace surgery

Learn more

Types of hysterectomy and how they’re performed

There are several different ways to perform a hysterectomy

Learn more

Results vs. risks of the surgery

The benefits and potential complications of surgery

Learn more

Choosing a specialist

How to find a gynaecologist who specialises in your surgery

Learn more

Surgery and aftercare

Questions for your doctor

What you should be asking before going ahead with a hysterectomy

Learn more

Preparing for your surgery

What you need to do before surgery

Learn more

Your anaesthetic options

About the anaesthetic and post-op pain relief.

Learn more


Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of your surgery

Learn more

Your surgery

What happens in the operating theatre?

Learn more


After your surgery

What happens before you go home

Learn more


Taking precautions and resuming activities

Learn more

Patient experiences

People who’ve had a hysterectomy talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.
View videos

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.