OBJECTIVE: To compare subtotal abdominal hysterectomy (SH) and total abdominal hysterectomy (TH) regarding influence on postoperative psychological wellbeing and surgical outcome measurements. DESIGN: A prospective, open, randomised multicentre trial. SETTING: Seven hospitals and one private clinic in the south-east of Sweden. POPULATION: Two-hundred women scheduled for abdominal hysterectomy for benign conditions were enrolled in the study; 179 women completed the study (94 SH and 85 TH). METHODS: Four different psychometric tests were used to measure general wellbeing, depression and anxiety preoperatively, and at 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Statistical analysis of variance and covariance were used. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Effects of operating method on psychological wellbeing postoperatively. Analysis of demographic, clinical and surgical data, including peri- and postoperative complications and complaints at follow up. RESULTS: No significant differences were observed between the two groups in any of the psychometric tests. Both surgical methods were associated with a significantly higher degree of psychological wellbeing at 6 and 12 months postoperatively, compared with preoperatively. No significant differences were found in the clinical measures including complications. A substantial number of women experienced persistent cyclic vaginal bleedings after SH. Neither minor or major postoperative complications, nor serum concentration of sex hormones, were associated with general psychological wellbeing 12 months after the operation. CONCLUSIONS: General psychological wellbeing is equally improved after both SH and TH within 12 months of the operation, and does not seem to be associated with the occurrence of peroperative complications or serum concentration of sex hormones.