Women's perceptions of decision-making about hysterectomy

BJOG. 2004 Feb;111(2):133-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-0528.2003.00027.x.


Objective: To explore women's views of decision-making relating to hysterectomy.

Design: Structured questionnaire and in-depth interview surveys.

Setting: A teaching hospital and a district general hospital in northeast Scotland.

Sample: Women scheduled for hysterectomy for benign menstrual problems.

Methods: Pre-operative questionnaires were sent to a consecutive sample of women booked for hysterectomy. A purposive sample was interviewed post-operatively.

Main outcome measures: Women's experiences of, and satisfaction with, information provision, communication and decision-making processes; the relationship between views of decision-making processes and decisions made.

Results: One hundred and four women (66%) returned questionnaires. Most responded positively to structured questions about the process by which the decision to have a hysterectomy was reached. Almost all (97%) reported satisfaction with the decision made. Twenty women were interviewed post-operatively. A number, including some who had responded positively on the questionnaire, described aspects of the decision-making process that were suboptimal. Women's perceptions of the decision-making process, including the way their doctors communicated with them, did impinge on their views of the course of action selected. Some women had residual doubts about the appropriateness of hysterectomy.

Conclusions: In a significant minority of women, there are important shortcomings in current patterns of information provision and communication relating to decision-making. These are unlikely to be picked up by conventional structured patient feedback surveys. Further efforts are required to ensure that women are adequately informed and involved in decisions about gynaecological treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / psychology*
  • Menorrhagia / psychology
  • Menorrhagia / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires