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January 1, 1982

Study suggests vaginal hysterectomy is safer

JAMA. 1982;247(1):13. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320260005003

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Contrary to conventional gynecologic wisdom, vaginal hysterectomy may be safer than abdominal hysterectomy in women of reproductive age, at leastwhen accompanied by prophylactic antibiotic therapy, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta.

Not all women who undergo hysterectomy are candidates for the vaginal approach, but the CDC estimates that about 10% of women now being operated on abdominally could be operated on vaginally instead, thus benefiting from the vaginal procedure's shorter, less complicated postoperative course.

In a two-year, prospective, observational study of the complications of elective hysterectomy in women of reproductive age, Richard C. Dicker, MD, and colleagues, Epidemiology Studies Branch, CDC, found that the overall postoperative complication rate among women who underwent abdominal hysterectomies was two times greater than among those operated on via the vaginal approach. The difference held up when the data were standardized for demographic, medical, and reproductive variables, and was