Survey Says: Alternatives to Hysterectomy Not Discussed

November 10, 2006

From Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report:

Fewer than half of women diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors are informed of less invasive alternatives to hysterectomy, such as uterine artery embolization, according to a survey conducted by the National Women’s Health Resource Center and scheduled to be released on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

More than 90% of the 615,000 hysterectomies performed in the U.S. are conducted because a woman has fibroids, endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, or a prolapsed or fallen uterus — all conditions for which less invasive surgery or nonsurgical treatments are available. Uterine artery embolization — which involves a small abdominal incision and local anesthesia — has a lower rate of complications and requires less recovery time than hysterectomy and is usually covered by health insurance. Some gynecologists fail to tell their patients about the procedure, possibly because it is performed by interventional radiologists and not gynecologists.

The Wall Street Journal story requires a subscription, and I haven’t found the survey posted yet on the website of the National Women’s Health Resource Center.

More information on fibroids, including self-help and medical treatments, is available online from Our Bodies, Ourselves.

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