Committee Opinion No 701: Choosing the Route of Hysterectomy for Benign Disease

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Abstract

Hysterectomy is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the United States. Selection of the route of hysterectomy for benign causes can be influenced by the size and shape of the vagina and uterus; accessibility to the uterus; extent of extrauterine disease; the need for concurrent procedures; surgeon training and experience; average case volume; available hospital technology, devices, and support; whether the case is emergent or scheduled; and preference of the informed patient. Vaginal and laparoscopic procedures are considered “minimally invasive” surgical approaches because they do not require a large abdominal incision and, thus, typically are associated with shortened hospitalization and postoperative recovery times compared with open abdominal hysterectomy. Minimally invasive approaches to hysterectomy should be performed, whenever feasible, based on their well-documented advantages over abdominal hysterectomy. The vaginal approach is preferred among the minimally invasive approaches. Laparoscopic hysterectomy is a preferable alternative to open abdominal hysterectomy for those patients in whom a vaginal hysterectomy is not indicated or feasible. Although minimally invasive approaches to hysterectomy are the preferred route, open abdominal hysterectomy remains an important surgical option for some patients. The obstetrician–gynecologist should discuss the options with patients and make clear recommendations on which route of hysterectomy will maximize benefits and minimize risks given the specific clinical situation. The relative advantages and disadvantages of the approaches to hysterectomy should be discussed in the context of the patient’s values and preferences, and the patient and health care provider should together determine the best course of action after this discussion.

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