Radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy is the standard surgical treatment for early stage cervical cancer. This operation is well recognised as having a higher morbidity and mortality rate than a simple hysterectomy. We studied the histology results of 131 patients who had standard surgery for cervical cancer to ascertain if a radical hysterectomy was required for adequate treatment. Of 110 (84%) patients with negative pelvic lymphadenopathy, only 9 (8%) had positive parametrial histology and all required adjuvant therapy independent of their parametrial histology. This study confirms that a less radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy provides adequate treatment and allows us to consider a more conservative, minimal access approach to the management of these patients.