Having a Hysterectomy? Why You Might Not Need One

US World News & ReportAlternative to this common procedure are underutilized, research finds.

By Chai Woodham

It’s the second most common surgery women undergo in the U.S., yet new research suggests that nearly 20 percent of hysterectomies performed to treat noncancerous conditions are actually unnecessary, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Though the number of hysterectomies performed in this country has fallen from a peak of more than 680,000 in 2002 to some 434,000 in 2010, it’s projected that 1 in 3 American women will have one by age 60. What’s more, the new study suggests that alternative treatments to hysterectomy are underused.

A hysterectomy can also help doctors arrive at a definitive diagnosis if certain cancers are suspected, explains Jaime Arruda, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and practicing surgeon at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. And, Arruda adds, most cancer diagnoses should be treated with hysterectomy though there are less invasive options too.”

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