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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Oct;179(4):1008-12.

How to increase the proportion of hysterectomies performed vaginally.

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  • 1Endoscopy Training Centre, University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Royal Free Hospital, London, United Kingdom.



The main purpose of our study was to identify the patient characteristics of women undergoing hysterectomy and to estimate the proportion of hysterectomies that could be done vaginally by recognized surgical techniques.


The records of 500 women who underwent hysterectomy were reviewed. The characteristics of patients without an absolute contraindication to vaginal hysterectomy were analyzed.


Overall, 96 (19.2%) of our study group underwent vaginal hysterectomy. A total of 382 (76.4%) women were judged not to have an absolute contraindication to this route. The most frequent characteristics of this group were lack of uterine prolapse (76.4%), a myomatous uterus (44.5%), and a need for oophorectomy (43.2%). We did not exclude women who did not have significant uterine prolapse or a history of pelvic surgery or pelvic tenderness and we included those requiring oophorectomy or with a uterine size up to that of 14 weeks' gestation; with these criteria more than two thirds of the entire study population could undergo vaginal surgery.


To maximize the proportion of hysterectomies performed vaginally, gynecologists need to be familiar with surgical techniques for dealing with nonprolapsed uteri, uterine leiomyomas, and vaginal oophorectomy.

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