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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1995 Aug;102(8):611-20.

Indications for and outcome of total abdominal hysterectomy for benign disease: a prospective cohort study.

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Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.



To describe the indications for total abdominal hysterectomy for women with nonmalignant disease and to determine the immediate (initial ten days) and medium term outcome.


A prospective cohort study.


Three district general hospitals in shire counties, two in outer London and one London teaching hospital.


Three hundred and sixty-six women undergoing total abdominal hysterectomy (with or without other procedures) for nonmalignant disease.


Self-completed patient questionnaires before and ten days, six weeks and three months after surgery. Data extracted from patients' hospital case notes.


Complications plus change in symptoms, urinary and bowel function, general health status, sexual function, activities of daily living and quality of life.


The principal indications were bleeding, pain or both. Symptoms were severe enough to be socially debilitating and have a major impact on lifestyle. Otherwise, the women were in good health. During the first ten post-operative days the women suffered more pain, urinary discomfort, constipation and a reduction in their ability to perform activities of daily living. Urinary (25%) and wound (25%) infections were the commonest complications. At the same time, significant improvements in psychological health occurred. By six weeks, the principal symptoms had resolved for 95% of the women and early adverse effects on urinary and bowel function had settled. This was reflected in improvements in health status and quality of life including sexual activity. Despite this, these changes did not meet the pre-operative expectations of some women.


Most women reported substantial benefits from hysterectomy. However, women should be warned about early, transient adverse effects. These findings can serve as a benchmark for nonexperimental evaluations of the effectiveness of new treatment modalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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