• Complications;
  • hysterectomy;
  • laparoscopy

Objective  The aim of this study was to evaluate the complication rate after laparoscopic total hysterectomy and laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy (LASH) in case of benign disease.

Design  All complications were prospectively recorded at the time of surgery and analysed retrospectively.

Setting  University hospital.

Population  Among 4505 hysterectomies performed by the same team using the same techniques between 1990 and 2006, 3190 were performed by laparoscopy, 906 by the vaginal route and 409 by laparotomy.

Methods  Laparoscopic hysterectomies, defined as laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy (LASH) and total laparoscopic hysterectomy [laparoscopy-assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH) switched to total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH) in 2000], were compared with vaginal and abdominal hysterectomies.

Main outcome measures and results  Since the early 1990s, the number of laparoscopic procedures has continued to grow, while the number of abdominal and vaginal procedures has decreased. Both minor complications (fever >38.5°C after 2 days, bladder incision of <2 cm and iatrogenic adenomyosis) and major complications (haemorrhage, vesicoperitoneal fistula, ureteral injury, rectal perforation or fistula) have been observed during the surgical procedure itself and postoperatively. In the LASH group (n = 1613), the minor complication rate was 0.99% (n = 16) and the major complication rate 0.37% (n = 6). In the total laparoscopic hysterectomy (LAVH/TLH) group (n = 1577), the minor complication rate was 1.14% (n = 18) and the major complication rate 0.51% (n = 8). In the vaginal hysterectomy group (n = 906), minor and major complication rates were 0.77% (n = 7) and 0.33% (n = 3), respectively. In the abdominal hysterectomy group (n = 409), minor and major complication rates were 0.73% (n = 3) and 0.49% (n = 2), respectively.

Conclusion  The results from our series of 4505 women clearly show that, in experienced hands, laparoscopic hysterectomy is not associated with any increase in major complication rates.