Hysterectomy Incidence Declines in California

Practice changes, shorter hospital stays linked to changes in hysterectomy rate and complications

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Since 1991, the incidence of hysterectomy for benign gynecologic conditions has dramatically declined in California, according to a report published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Lloyd H. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California-Davis in Sacramento, and colleagues analyzed diagnostic and procedure codes for 649,758 California women who underwent inpatient hysterectomy between 1991 and 2004.

Overall, the researchers found a 17.6 percent decline in the incidence of any type of inpatient hysterectomy for benign gynecologic conditions despite substantial increases in the rates of laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy and subtotal hysterectomy. They also observed a steady decline in medical and surgical complications associated with hysterectomy.

"Some of this decline may have been affected by shorter lengths of hospitalization or by changes in medical and surgical practice that resulted in intrinsically safer operations," the authors write. "That African American race was associated with higher odds of complications or readmission suggests an ongoing disparity in the outcomes for African American women undergoing hysterectomy for benign gynecological conditions in California that deserves further study."

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