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News Wise: Plotting the Downward Trend in Traditional Hysterectomy

Fewer women are getting hysterectomies in every state across the country. Instead, more patients may be choosing minimally invasive procedures or other alternatives to handle issues like pelvic pain and fibroids over a traditional abdominal hysterectomy, new Michigan Medicine research suggests.

The rate of hysterectomies in the U.S. decreased 12 percent between 2010 and 2013, from nearly 40 to 35 hysterectomies per 10,000 women, according to the study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Meanwhile, laparoscopy — a minimally invasive procedure that also involves removing the uterus — emerged as the most common surgical approach for hysterectomy over the same period (up from roughly 26 to 43 percent use).

Researchers also found that among patients with commercially based insurance who did get a hysterectomy, fewer were open surgery cases requiring an inpatient hospital stay — saving nearly $52 million in health care costs.

"Our findings suggest that minimally invasive procedures and other alternatives are now more common than a traditional hysterectomy requiring a hospital stay," says lead author Daniel Morgan, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital.

"Hospitals have been reporting declines in hysterectomies for some time, but we wanted to learn how big the decrease actually was and the most common way hysterectomy is performed today. As more alternatives become available, more women seem to be choosing these other options."