Trachelectomy: Surgical removal of the cervix, the lower portion of the uterus that protrudes into the vagina.
Trachelectomy is done in younger women with early cancer of the cervix (with a tumor no larger than 2-3 centimeters). In this surgery, the cervix and the upper part of the vagina are removed but the rest of the uterus is left in place. The lymph nodes in the pelvis are also removed, usually by keyhole laparoscopic surgery, to see if the cancer has spread.
After trachelectomy it is sometimes possible for the woman to have children. A stitch is made at the bottom of the uterus like a drawstring and this takes the place of the cervix during pregnancy. There is a higher chance of miscarriage for women who have had this procedure, and the baby needs to be delivered by Cesarean section.
Trachelectomy is also called cervicectomy. The prefix "trachel-" comes from the Greek "trachelos" meaning neck. It refers to the cervix which is the neck of the uterus.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016