Elective Hysterectomy: Benefits, Risks, and Costs

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Abstract

This study evaluated the effect of hysterectomy or hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (hysterectomy and oophorectomy) versus alternative medical management on life expectancy, quality of life, and direct medical costs. Using techniques of decision analysis and available data on sequelae, it was found that gains in life expectancy and quality of life can be expected when women ages 30–60 undergo hysterectomy for benign neoplasm, disorders of menstruation, acquired abnormal anatomy, cervical disease, or endometriosis, owing primarily to prevention of reproductive tract cancers, which outweighs the impact of operative mortality. However, women who have relatively high operative risk or low expected cancer risks, beyond thresholds estimated in sensitivity analyses, suffer losses in life expectancy. Women younger than 35 not treated with replacement estrogens following hysterectomy and oophorectomy can expect net losses in life expectancy with surgical intervention due to increased risks of heart disease and osteoporosis. For women in the reproductive years who wish to preserve their potential to bear children, sterilization may be an unacceptable consequence of elective hysterectomy in the quality of life.

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