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There is no simple answer to this often asked question, as it depends upon the situation. The important issue is that the patient knows what type of hysterectomy she has had and the reason for the procedure.

During a smear test, cells are removed from the cervix (neck of the womb) and examined for changes that may lead to cancer later on. If a woman has had a TOTAL hysterectomy, the cervix will have been removed. If she has had a SUB-TOTAL hysterectomy the cervix will have been conserved.

Therefore, in the case of a sub- total hysterectomy, the woman should attend for regular smears. Very frequently, women who have had a total hysterectomy will not need to attend as they have no cervix.

However, and this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, if the hysterectomy was performed as a result of cancer or for any other reason if there were pre- cancerous changes or the suspicion of cancer, the woman will still need regular checks. In cases such as these, a procedure known as a vault smear is performed. It is the same procedure but as the woman has no cervix, cells are removed from the closed end of the vagina and the vaginal walls.

All women undergoing hysterectomy should ensure that they know exactly what type of surgery they are having and ask the Gynaecologist if ongoing smear tests are recommended. If you are unable to find this information out, see your Doctor or Practice Nurse.

The Core Team

Dawn Blythe

Clinic Director, Practice Midwife

Yvonne Evans

Clinic Director, Nurse

Dr. An Croonenborghs

General Practitioner

Jane Evans