Objective: To evaluate the appropriateness of recommendations for hysterectomies done for nonemergency and non-oncologic indications.
Methods: We assessed the appropriateness of recommendations for hysterectomy for 497 women who had the operation between August 1993 and July 1995 in one of nine capitated medical groups in Southern California. Appropriateness was assessed using two sets of criteria, the first developed by a multispecialty expert physician panel using the RAND/University of California-Los Angeles appropriateness method, and the second consisting of the ACOG criteria sets for hysterectomies. The main outcome measure was the appropriateness of recommendation for hysterectomy, based on expert panel ratings and ACOG criteria sets.
Results: The most common indications for hysterectomy were leiomyomata (60% of hysterectomies), pelvic relaxation (11%), pain (9%), and bleeding (8%). Three hundred sixty-seven (70%) of the hysterectomies did not meet the level of care recommended by the expert panel and were judged to be recommended inappropriately. ACOG criteria sets were applicable to 71 women, and 54 (76%) did not meet ACOG criteria for hysterectomy. The most common reasons recommendations for hysterectomies considered inappropriate were lack of adequate diagnostic evaluation and failure to try alternative treatments before hysterectomy.
Conclusion: Hysterectomy is often recommended for indications judged inappropriate. Patients and physicians should work together to ensure that proper diagnostic evaluation has been done and appropriate treatments considered before hysterectomy is recommended.