Michigan study suggests many hysterectomies are unnecessary

Researchers say many women are not being told of alternative options

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University says that as many as one in five hysterectomies may be unnecessary, according to the Huffington Post. The study says that many women are not being informed of less invasive treatment options for benign conditions. Experts point out that hysterectomies are one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, but, as with any invasive procedure, they expose patients to health risks resulting from surgical errors, such as retained objects and infections.

Unnecessary procedures

Researchers analyzed the records of about 3,400 women who had hysterectomies performed at 51 Michican hospitals over a 10-month period in 2013. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 18 percent of hysterectomies performed for people with benign conditions were medically unnecessary. Furthermore, pathology analyses did not support carrying out a hysterectomy in 38 percent of women under 40 who had the procedure performed.

After caesarian sections, hysterectomies are the most common surgery performed on women in the United States. Despite the fact that hysterectomies are becoming less frequent, approximately one-third of all women will still undergo the procedure before they turn 60.

Alternatives not discussed

Researchers found that many women are not properly informed of alternative options. The study concluded that 40 percent of women who had a hysterectomy had no record of being informed about alternatives. Access to alternative treatments were also based on the age of the patient. While 68 percent of women under 40 underwent alternative treatments, that figure fell to just 56 percent for women over 50.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends using alternative minimally-invasive procedures whenever a hysterectomy can be avoided. Alternative options such as hormonal management and the use of an IUD are less invasive and can protect many patients from suffering some of the complications that often arise during surgery. Despite the pervasiveness of hysterectomies, the procedure is considered a major form of surgery that can have a long-term impact on a woman's life.

Medical errors

As the above article shows, many patients are being exposed to risky and sometimes unnecessary surgical procedures everyday. Such serious procedures put patients at risk of injury that may take years to recover from and can lead to serious complications.

Anybody who may have been the victim of an error made by a medical professional should get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney. Injured patients can rely on such an attorney to fight for their rights and, in some cases, possibly recover compensation to assist in the patient's recovery process.