A systematic review comparing hysterectomy with less-invasive treatments for abnormal uterine bleeding

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2012 Jan-Feb;19(1):13-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2011.08.005. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Study objective: To compare hysterectomy with less-invasive alternatives for abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) in 7 clinically important domains.

Design: Systematic review.

Setting: Randomized clinical trials comparing bleeding, quality of life, pain, sexual health, satisfaction, need for subsequent surgery, and adverse events between hysterectomy and less-invasive treatment options.

Patients: Women with AUB, predominantly from ovulatory disorders and endometrial causes.

Interventions: Systematic review of the literature (from inception to January 2011) comparing hysterectomy with alternatives for AUB treatment. Eligible trials were extracted into standardized forms. Trials were graded with a predefined 3-level rating, and the strengths of evidence for each outcome were evaluated with the Grades for Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system.

Measurements and main results: Nine randomized clinical trials (18 articles) were eligible. Endometrial ablation, levonorgestrel intrauterine system, and medications were associated with lower risk of adverse events but higher risk of additional treatments than hysterectomy. Compared to ablation, hysterectomy had superior long-term pain and bleeding control. Compared with the levonorgestrel intrauterine system, hysterectomy had superior control of bleeding. No other differences between treatments were found.

Conclusion: Less-invasive treatment options for AUB result in improvement in quality of life but carry significant risk of retreatment caused by unsatisfactory results. Although hysterectomy is the most effective treatment for AUB, it carries the highest risk for adverse events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / therapeutic use*
  • Endometrial Ablation Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy* / adverse effects
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated* / adverse effects
  • Levonorgestrel / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / therapy*


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Levonorgestrel