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Keywords:

  • Total/Subtotal Hysterectomy;
  • Sexual;
  • Pain;
  • Psychological

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Current controversies involve the adverse effects of hysterectomy on women's psychosocial functioning and whether subtotal as opposed to total hysterectomy mitigates these effects.

Aim.  To investigate the psychosocial effects of hysterectomy by examining sexual, pain, and psychological outcomes of total vs. subtotal hysterectomy in a randomized controlled trial.

Methods.  Patients suffering from benign gynecological conditions were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (i) total hysterectomy, that is, laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (TOT, N = 32); or (ii) subtotal hysterectomy, that is, supracervical laparoscopic hysterectomy (SUB, N = 31). Both groups were premenopausal and underwent hysterectomy without concurrent oophorectomy. Two premenopausal control groups: (i) minor gynecological surgery (SURG-CON, N = 30); and (ii) healthy nonsurgical controls (NORM-CON, N = 40), were also tested. All surgical groups were assessed 2–3 weeks before surgery and then 6–7 months afterward; the nonsurgical control group was assessed at the time of recruitment and 6–7 months later.

Outcome Measures.  Assessments included semistructured interviews, standardized questionnaires, and standardized gynecological examinations.

Results.  For the TOT group, sexual drive, arousal, and sexual behavior significantly improved postoperatively. For the SUB group, sexual behavior and overall sexual functioning significantly improved. For both TOT and SUB groups, unprovoked pain in the abdomen and pain in the abdomen during gynecological examinations was significantly reduced. For both TOT and SUB groups, overall psychological functioning did not significantly change postoperatively. Although between 3% and 16% of women undergoing hysterectomy reported adverse changes in psychosocial well-being after surgery, similar percentages of women in the control groups reported such effects.

Conclusions.  Hysterectomy resulted in a consistent reduction in abdominal pain, some improvement in sexual functioning, but no change in overall psychological functioning. There was no evidence supporting the idea that subtotal hysterectomy produced more favorable psychosocial outcomes than total hysterectomy nor was there any evidence that either type of hysterectomy resulted in adverse effects. Flory N, Bissonnette F, Amsel RT, and Binik YM. The psychosocial outcomes of total and subtotal hysterectomy: A randomized controlled trial. J Sex Med 2006;3:483–491.