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Most women undergoing hysterectomy for benign conditions are satisfied with the outcome and their recovery

More than 9 out of 10 women who undergo hysterectomies for benign conditions are satisfied with the results. They feel the surgery provided relief from painful symptoms and improved their quality of life and that the recovery was reasonable. The few women dissatisfied with the operation were those who had to be readmitted for complications such as adhesions or infections, according to the results of a study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS06865).

University of Maryland researchers interviewed about 1,300 women—most of whom were premenopausal—who underwent hysterectomy at 28 Maryland hospitals. They interviewed the women before surgery and at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery.

About two-thirds of the women (65 percent) underwent abdominal hysterectomy, 12 percent underwent laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy, and about 23 percent underwent vaginal hysterectomy. When surveyed 1 and 2 years after the operation, 96 percent of women said that the hysterectomy had completely or mostly resolved the problems or symptoms they were experiencing before they had the surgery. Also, 93 percent and 94 percent, respectively, said that the results of the operation were better than or about what they expected; from 82 to 85 percent said that their health was better than before the hysterectomy; and from 88 to 93 percent reported being totally recovered. Fewer than 1 percent of the women studied said the surgery had not resolved at all the symptoms or problems that they had before surgery.

Hospital readmission due to complications after hospital discharge was the factor most strongly and consistently associated with women's reports of negative outcomes from hysterectomy. For example, women who were readmitted to the hospital during the first year after hysterectomy were 23 times more likely to report that the results of the surgery were worse than they had expected, after adjustment for all other factors. About 5.4 percent of women were readmitted at least once to the hospital during the 2 years of followup, and 4 percent were readmitted during the first year. The most common reasons for readmission were incision problems, surgery for adhesions, intestinal blockage, and urinary tract problems.

For more information, see "Patient satisfaction with results of hysterectomy," by Kristen H. Kjerulff, Ph.D., Julia C. Rhodes, Ph.D., Patricia W. Langenberg, Ph.D., and Lynn A. Harvey, in the December 2000 American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 183, pp. 1440-1447.

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