Most Hysterectomy Procedures Unnecessary: Blue Cross to Take Action
Experts believe that early 2 out of every 3 hysterectomy procedures may be unnecessary. As the most common non-obstetrical gynecological surgery preformed in the US, nearly a third of all women have it preformed before the age of 60. Blue Cross of Michigan is now collaborating with obstetricians and gynecologists state-wide to reduce the amount of unnecessary hysterectomy procedures and promote safer and less invasive options for women.
A hysterectomy is a procedure in which a woman's uterus is surgically removed. Reasons for this procedure include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, cancer (or cancer prevention), chronic pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
In most cases, however, it is uncomfortable symptoms such as bleeding, pain and bloating which drive women to undergo this surgery. However, experts are saying that there are now plenty of other options out there which can help these women without the removal of the uterus.
Aside from expected surgical risks of a hysterectomy which include bleeding and infection, research has also identified some long-term complications that can arise from this procedure. In 2005 researchers found that women who have had hysterectomies are more prone to heart disease. Other studies have shown that the removal of the uterus can lead to decreased strength, sex drive and even the development of osteoporosis.
In a statement released by the Blue Cross of Michiagn they assert that, “Using other less invasive treatment methods can effectively control conditions while avoiding the complications that can come from hysterectomy.”
It is recommend that gynecologists and obstetricians only offer hysterectomies to patients after all other less invasive options have been exhausted. Alternative options to a hysterectomy include drug treatment, endometrial ablation, and uterine artery embolization.
Blue Cross Hopes to Encourage Alternative Procedures
The Physician Group Incentive Program, a group formed by Blue Cross, wil connect with more than 11,000 physicians across Michigan to begin working on ways to improve the gynecological care of women.
“This initiative encourages us, as physicians, to thoroughly discuss all treatment options with our patients, and to carefully consider non-surgical treatment options first,” says Brent Davidson, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Henry Ford Medical Group,“We’ll also share ideas and information and develop guidelines for treating women who are candidates for non-surgical treatments.
Resource: Blue Cross of Michigan Press Release