Variation in ovarian conservation in women undergoing hysterectomy for benign indications

Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Apr;121(4):717-726. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182887a47.


Objective: Emerging data suggest that oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy for benign indications may increase long-term morbidity and mortality. We performed a population-based analysis to estimate the rates of oophorectomy in women undergoing hysterectomy for benign indications.

Methods: The Perspective database was used to estimate the rate of ovarian preservation in women aged 40-64 years who underwent hysterectomy for benign indications. Hierarchical mixed-effects regression models were developed to estimate the influence of patient, procedural, physician, and hospital characteristics on ovarian conservation. Between-hospital variation in ovarian preservation also was estimated.

Results: Among 752,045 women, 348,972 (46.4%) underwent bilateral oophorectomy, whereas 403,073 (53.6%) had ovarian conservation. Stratified by age, the rate of ovarian conservation was 74.3% for those younger than 40 years of age; 62.7% for those 40-44 years of age; 40.8% for those 45-49 years of age; 25.2% for those 50-54 years of age; 25.5% for those 55-59 years of age; and 31.0% for those 60-64 years of age. Younger age and more recent year of surgery had the strongest association with ovarian conservation. The observed patient, procedural, physician, and hospital characteristics accounted for only 46% of the total variation in the rate of ovarian conservation; 54% of the variability remained unexplained, suggesting a large amount of intrinsic between-hospital variation in the decision to perform oophorectomy.

Conclusion: The rate of ovarian conservation is increasing, particularly among women younger than 50 years old. Although demographic and clinical factors influence the decision to perform oophorectomy, there appears to be substantial between-hospital variation in performance of oophorectomy that remains unexplained by measurable patient, physician, or hospital characteristics.

Level of evidence: II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovariectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ovary
  • Uterine Diseases / surgery