Here’s a recent article I found comparing abdominal and vaginal hysterectomies. They are using Australian statistics but I know they’re similar here in Canada too. I’m so happy I had a gynecologist who was comfortable doing the laparoscopic surgery. It went really well and I only have 4 miniscule incision marks and I don’t doubt those will eventually disappear. What do you think about these options?
Australian experts say scarce funding for the health budget is being wasted by surgeons continuing to perform open hysterectomies instead of a less invasive procedure.
Every year, around 30,000 Australian women have a hysterectomy.
About 40 per cent of them will undergo an open hysterectomy, which involves a longer stay in hospital and a greater chance of side-effects.
Professor Andreas Obermair from Brisbane’s Greenslopes Hospital says patients who undergo the open procedure have a much longer recovery period and are in more pain after the operation.
He says 50 per cent of women have a vaginal procedure, which is not invasive.
But he says too many women are still undergoing full, open surgery, which has greater risks of infections and readmission to hospital.
Only about 10 per cent of women are offered the minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedure.
“Not a lot of people would have trained in this kind of procedure and I guess there needs to be a new generation of gynaecologists coming through who are more proficient in the new, less invasive procedures that are better for patients,” Professor Obermair said.
He estimates that if the laparoscopic procedure were offered in all cases, the savings to the health system would be enormous.
“We did the numbers and we calculated that straightaway Australia could save $50 million every year,” he said.
Different procedures have pros, cons: Doctor
Dr Stephen Robson, the vice president of the Royal Australian College of obstetricians and gynaecologists, says hysterectomies are much less common these days than 30 years ago.
Dr Robson says the vaginal hysterectomy is the cheapest and least complicated, but he says it is not always appropriate for every patient.
He says both the laparoscopic and abdominal hysterectomies have pros and cons and there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when deciding which operation to choose.
Brisbane mother Amanda Renton had the minimally invasive procedure after discovering she had a genetic link to breast and ovarian cancer.
Ms Renton says she is pleased with her choice.
“It was really good to be honest, much better than I could have expected. It’s been three weeks since the operation and I feel really good,” she said.
Health funding being ‘wasted’, Professor says
Professor Obermair says health funding needs to be used more effectively.
“We could put a lot more effort into training doctors, so they are able to offer minimally invasive procedures. At the moment we are wasting dollars here,” he said.
Associate Professor Nicholas Graves from the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation at Queensland University of Technology says health funding is scarce and needs to be used wisely.
“In the current economic climate with healthcare resources under so much pressure we really need to be adopting these smart and useful innovations as quickly as possible,” he said.
Professor Graves has analysed the cost effectiveness of the laparoscopic hysterectomy compared to an abdominal hysterectomy for treating early-stage endometrial cancer.
His research found that adopting laparoscopic procedures would result in savings to health services and an increase in health benefits.
While the initial surgery costs are higher for laparoscopic surgery, overall doctors say it ends up being cheaper as patients are less likely to end up back in hospital with side effects and infections.
Here’s a video link to the same issue: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-24/surgeons-wasting-funding-on-hysterectomies/4978906