From the Journals

Endometriosis, surgical approach impact risk of bowel injury in hysterectomy



Hysterectomies performed using an abdominal surgical approach or in women with endometriosis are more likely to carry an increased risk of bowel injury, according to recent results published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

laparoscopic surgery being performed U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier

Cici R. Zhu, MD, of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa, and colleagues retrospectively studied the incidence of bowel injury in women participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program who underwent hysterectomy for a benign surgical indication between 2012 and 2016.

“Although the absolute incidence is low, bowel injuries are among the most devastating complications of hysterectomy, as they can lead to a wide range of complications, including peritonitis, abscess formation, enterocutaneous fistula, sepsis, and even death,” Dr. Zhu and colleagues wrote. “Secondary bowel surgeries are often required, and associated ileostomies and colostomies can be distressing to patients. This not only severely affects quality of life, but the resultant readmissions, reoperations, and prolonged hospitalizations can impose a substantial economic toll on the health care system.”

Overall, 155,557 women were included in the study. The cohort consisted of women who were a mean age of 48 years and had a mean body mass index (BMI) of 31 kg/m2. The researchers evaluated whether baseline characteristics, clinical, and surgical variables impacted the incidence of bowel injury. They analyzed data of participant age, race (White vs. non-White), BMI, comorbid conditions (smoking, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and bleeding disorder), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification, surgical approach (abdominal, laparoscopic, or vaginal), hysterectomy type (total or subtotal), lysis of adhesions, operation time, and admission type. Indication for hysterectomy was also evaluated, which included uterine leiomyoma (32.9%), menstrual disorders (22.0%), genital prolapse (13.1%), endometriosis (6.8%) and pelvic pain (3.8%).

Endometriosis, abdominal approach raise risk

There were 610 cases of bowel injury observed in the study, for an overall injury rate of 0.39%. A majority of the repairs were done during surgery (82.3%), with the remainder performed within 30 days of hysterectomy. Women with endometriosis had the most frequent incidence of bowel injury (0.59%), but it also occurred in women with uterine leiomyomas (0.47%), pain (0.24%), menstrual disorders (0.20%), genital prolapse (0.18%) and other indications (0.56%).

Dr. Zhu and colleagues found risk of bowel injury was higher among women 55 years and older, compared with women aged younger than 40 years (odds ratio, 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 1.28-2.15); in non-White women, compared with White women (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.62-2.28); and in women with class 3 obesity, compared with women at a normal BMI (OR, 1.81; 95 CI, 1.40-2.34). Other risk factors for bowel injury included hypertension (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.17-1.64) and ASA III, IV, and V classification, compared with ASA I classification (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.43-2.58).

Researchers noted there was a statistically significant difference in rates of bowel injury between hysterectomy indications (P < .001). When compared with endometriosis, there were lower odds of bowel injury among women with uterine leiomyomas (adjusted odds ratio, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.59), genital prolapse (aOR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.25-0.67), and menstrual disorder (aOR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.23-0.48).

Surgical factors also impacted the risk for bowel injury. In hysterectomies where the abdominal approach was used, there was an over-tenfold risk of bowel injury, compared with when a vaginal approach was used (OR, 10.80; 95% CI, 7.31-15.95). Lysis of lesions carried an increased risk of bowel injury (OR, 3.11; 95% CI, 2.20-4.40), and a subtotal hysterectomy increased the risk of bowel injury, compared with when a total hysterectomy was performed (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.42-2.18).

The researchers acknowledged the lack of detailed clinical information on surgical indications, severity of bowel injury, and training of the surgeons and surgical team, and potential for missing information may limit the application of the study findings.


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