NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Second-generation endometrial ablations performed for an indication related to pain were significantly more likely to fail, according to findings presented at the AAGL Global Congress.
“We know that endometrial ablation carries a reasonable risk of failure – meaning a second ablation or hysterectomy procedure – and that rate can vary institutionally,” Matthew Hoffman, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Christiana Care Health Center, Newark, Del., said in an interview prior to the meeting. “Part of our goal is to examine patients who had pain as an indication for their procedure and to better understand if that served as an independent risk factor for women who would ultimately require additional surgical intervention.”
In a retrospective study, researchers identified 5,818 women who had undergone an ablation between October 2003 and March 2016 at a community hospital affiliated with the Christina Care Health System. Patients had either a radiofrequency ablation (3,706), hydrothermablation (1,786), or uterine balloon ablation (326).
The majority of the patients were white. Pain indications included pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, lower abdominal pain, endometriosis, and adenomyosis.
Investigators found a hysterectomy rate of 19.2% among the 437 patients who had pain as an indication for ablation, compared with 13.5% of patients with different indications (P = .001).
Secondary outcomes showed older women who underwent ablation for pain were still less likely to fail than were younger patients (odds ratio, 0.96, 95% confidence interval, .95-.97). “Older age, especially age 50 years or older, with the indication of pain, was actually protective against hysterectomy,”, a resident physician at Christina Care Health System and one of the study researchers, said in an interview. “So even though pain itself was a risk factor, if you were in pain and older than 50 you were less likely to need a hysterectomy.”
The data used were collected at a single center, potentially limiting the generalizability of the findings.
Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Cramer suggested using hormonal IUDs as an alternative treatment when counseling patients who may be at risk for a failed ablation.
“This is a call for folks to look at a diverse number of risk factors and to look at this data to better counsel patients in how they choose and select procedures to get to the endpoints that you want,” Dr. Hoffman said.
The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.