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The effect of body mass index on likelihood of complications following hysterectomy

The study sought to determine if there was any association between obesity and peri or postoperative complications after hysterectomy for non-malignant bleeding disorders. Data from 444 vaginal hysterectomies and 503 abdominal hysterectomies indicated by benign bleeding disorders were drawn from a regional database. Data on peri- or postoperative complications and postoperative stay were related to preoperative body mass index (BMI).

The researchers found that obesity was related to longer operation time for vaginal as well as abdominal hysterectomy and to large perioperative blood loss for vaginal hysterectomy only. No association was found between BMI and serious complications such as ileus, infection or haematoma’s except for a higher prevalence of wound haematoma after abdominal hysterectomy in underweight and normal weight patients. Neither was any association found between BMI and use of blood transfusion, re-operation or prolonged postoperative stay. The researchers have concluded that vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy have a significant risk of complications, but obese patients did not experience an increased risk of serious morbidity compared to normal weight women. Obesity per se is not a contraindication of vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy in otherwise healthy women.

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(Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004 Jan;83(1):85-8)

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational coach and founder of the Hysterectomy Association. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in the adoption and engagement of digital technologies. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

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