From the Journals

Complication rates rise after decline in uterine fibroid morcellation


Key clinical point: Major complications from uterine fibroid hysterectomies have increased with more open surgeries.

Major finding: The rate of 30-day complications after uterine fibroid hysterectomy has increased by 20%.

Study details: A retrospective cohort study of 75,487 women.

Disclosures: The study was supported by a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and one author was supported by the University of Insubria, and by Fondo Miglierina, Varese, Italy. No conflicts of interest were declared.

Source: Multinu F et al. JAMA Surg. 2018 Apr 11. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2018.0141.



The rate of major and minor 30-day complications from the treatment of uterine fibroids has increased significantly since the Food and Drug Administration’s black-box warning against the use of power morcellation, data suggest.

Researchers examined the incidence of 30-day posthysterectomy complications in 75,487 women who underwent treatment for benign gynecologic indications before and after November 2014, when the FDA’s edict was issued over concerns about the risk of disseminating benign or malignant disease. Of these women, 25,571 had uterine fibroids as the indication for hysterectomy.

The retrospective cohort study, published online April 11 in JAMA Surgery, showed that while the overall rate of complications in the cohort was relatively unchanged before and after the FDA’s warning, complication rates increased significantly in women undergoing treatment for uterine fibroids.

Before the FDA’s announcement, the 30-day major complication rate in women undergoing hysterectomy for uterine fibroids was 1.9%, which increased to 2.4% after the FDA’s warning (odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.47; P = .02). Similarly, the rate of minor 30-day complications increased from 2.7% before the warning to 3.3% after the warning (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.40; P = .01), after adjustment for factors such as age, body mass index, comorbidities, and other associated procedures.

“This 20% increase in the odds of major and minor complications could translate into a large number of additional complications among the 200,000 hysterectomies performed annually for uterine fibroids in the United States,” wrote Francesco Multinu, MD, of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and his coauthors.

Overall, the researchers saw a much higher rate of major complications in women undergoing open abdominal surgery, compared with women who underwent minimally invasive surgery or vaginal hysterectomy (3.5% vs. 1.7% vs. 1.7%). A similar pattern was seen in the subgroup of women who underwent hysterectomy for uterine fibroids (2.8% vs. 1.8% vs. 1.8%).

However, minor 30-day complication rates were higher in women who underwent vaginal hysterectomy (4.5%), compared with open abdominal surgery (4.1%) and minimally invasive surgery (3.2%). In women with uterine fibroids, the minor complication rates were slightly higher in those who underwent open hysterectomy or vaginal hysterectomy than in those who had minimally invasive surgery, but this was not statistically significant.

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