Hospital variation in responses to safety warnings about power morcellation in hysterectomy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jun;224(6):589.e1-589.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.12.1207. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


Background: Safety warnings about power morcellation in 2014 considerably changed hysterectomy practice, especially for laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy that typically requires morcellation to remove the corpus uteri while preserving the cervix. Hospitals might vary in how they respond to safety warnings and altered hysterectomy procedures to avoid use of power morcellation. However, there has been little data on how hospitals differ in their practice changes.

Objective: This study aimed to examine whether hospitals varied in their use of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy after safety warnings about power morcellation and compare the risk of surgical complications at hospitals that had different response trajectories in use of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy.

Study design: This was a retrospective analysis of data from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System and the State Inpatient Databases and State Ambulatory Surgery and Services Databases from 14 other states. We identified women aged ≥18 years undergoing hysterectomy for benign indications in the hospital inpatient and outpatient settings from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2015. We calculated a risk-adjusted utilization rate of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy for each hospital in each calendar quarter after accounting for patient clinical risk factors. Applying a growth mixture modeling approach, we identified distinct groups of hospitals that exhibited different trajectories of using laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy over time. Within each trajectory group, we compared patients' risk of surgical complications in the prewarning (2013Q4-2014Q1), transition (2014Q2-2014Q4), and postwarning (2015Q1-2015Q3) period using multivariable regressions.

Results: Among 212,146 women undergoing benign hysterectomy at 511 hospitals, the use of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy decreased from 15.1% in 2013Q4 to 6.2% in 2015Q3. The use of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy at these 511 hospitals exhibited 4 distinct trajectory patterns: persistent low use (mean risk-adjusted utilization rate of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy changed from 2.8% in 2013Q4 to 0.6% in 2015Q3), decreased medium use (17.0% to 6.9%), decreased high use (51.4% to 24.2%), and rapid abandonment (30.5% to 0.8%). In the meantime, use of open abdominal hysterectomy increased by 2.1, 4.1, 7.8, and 11.8 percentage points between the prewarning and postwarning periods in these 4 trajectory groups, respectively. Compared with the prewarning period, the risk of major complications in the postwarning period decreased among patients at "persistent low use" hospitals (adjusted odds ratio, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.81-0.94). In contrast, the risk of major complications increased among patients at "rapid abandonment" hospitals (adjusted odds ratio, 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-1.98), and the risk of minor complications increased among patients at "decreased high use" hospitals (adjusted odds ratio, 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.72).

Conclusion: Hospitals varied in their use of laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy after safety warnings about power morcellation. Complication risk increased at hospitals that shifted considerably toward open abdominal hysterectomy.

Keywords: complication; hospital variation; hysterectomy; laparoscopic; power morcellation; trajectory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals / standards
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / adverse effects
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Hysterectomy / standards
  • Hysterectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Intraoperative Complications / etiology
  • Intraoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Laparoscopy / standards
  • Laparoscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Morcellation / adverse effects
  • Morcellation / methods
  • Morcellation / standards
  • Morcellation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States
  • Young Adult