Objective: To describe patient characteristics and diagnoses associated with hysterectomy in the United States from 1988-1990 using data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey.
Methods: We analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, an annual probability sample of discharges from nonfederal, short-stay hospitals in the United States. A population-based sample of all women aged 15 years or older in the United States civilian population who had a hysterectomy during 1988-1990 was examined to characterize factors associated with hysterectomy: patients' age and race, diagnoses, surgical approach, and oophorectomy.
Results: Approximately 1.7 million women had a hysterectomy during 1988-1990. The highest rates--100.5 hysterectomies per 10,000 women--were for women aged 30-54 years. Total rates of hysterectomy for black women were similar to those for white women (61.7 and 56.5 per 10,000 women, respectively); uterine leiomyoma ("fibroid tumor") was reported as the primary diagnosis for 61% of black women and 29% of white women. Abdominal surgery was used for 75% of all hysterectomies. Concomitant bilateral oophorectomy was done for 37% of the women under 45 years old and 68% of the women 45 years or older.
Conclusions: Two-thirds of all hysterectomies for noncancerous conditions were performed for uterine leiomyoma or endometriosis--conditions that are most common before the age of menopause. Future assessments of the appropriateness of hysterectomy will require better understanding of these disorders. Continued monitoring of hysterectomy rates is critical to understanding the appropriate use of hysterectomy, alternative therapies for uterine disorders, and future trends in women's health care.