The treatment of cervical microinvasive carcinoma is controversial. Hysterectomy is performed in almost all cases, associated or not with more radical procedures. Currently, there is a tendency to adopt conservative management to treat patients with early invasion, as long as it can be assured that the whole lesion has been removed. The aim of this study was to establish which histological information should be obtained from the cones that would give the best possible assurance of absence of residual neoplasia in the patient. This was done by comparing cone and hysterectomy specimens from each patient. One hundred sixty-three cases, treated from 1967 to 1994, underwent simple or radical hysterectomy following cone biopsy. We evaluated the following histological features in the cones: (i) invasion depth, (ii) lateral extension of the lesion, (iii) unifocal or extensive lesion, (iv) vascular invasion, (v) morphological signs of HPV infection, and (vi) free or involved cone surgical margins. Residual neoplasia in the hysterectomy was more frequent when the margins of the cone were involved by atypical epithelium, and in cases with signs of HPV infection. However, according to statistical analysis, these two variables were not mutually independent, and the only important parameter to predict residual neoplasia in the hysterectomy specimens was involved surgical margins in the cone.