BMJ 2004 Jan 7;328(7432):129. Epub 2004 Jan 7.
University of Western Australia, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Subiaco, Perth, WA 6008, Australia.
Objective: To compare the effects of laparoscopic hysterectomy and abdominal hysterectomy in the abdominal trial, and laparoscopic hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy in the vaginal trial.
Design: Two parallel, multicentre, randomised trials.
Setting: 28 UK centres and two South African centres.
Participants: 1380 women were recruited; 1346 had surgery; 937 were followed up at one year. Primary outcome Rate of major complications.
Results: In the abdominal trial laparoscopic hysterectomy was associated with a higher rate of major complications than abdominal hysterectomy (11.1% v 6.2%, P = 0.02; difference 4.9%, 95% confidence interval 0.9% to 9.1%) and the number needed to treat to harm was 20. Laparoscopic hysterectomy also took longer to perform (84 minutes v 50 minutes) but was less painful (visual analogue scale 3.51 v 3.88, P = 0.01) and resulted in a shorter stay in hospital after the operation (3 days v 4 days). Six weeks after the operation, laparoscopic hysterectomy was associated with less pain and better quality of life than abdominal hysterectomy (SF-12, body image scale, and sexual activity questionnaires). In the vaginal trial we found no evidence of a difference in major complication rates between laparoscopic hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy (9.8% v 9.5%, P = 0.92; difference 0.3%, -5.2% to 5.8%), and the number needed to treat to harm was 333. We found no evidence of other differences between laparoscopic hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy except that laparoscopic hysterectomy took longer to perform (72 minutes v 39 minutes) and was associated with a higher rate of detecting unexpected pathology (16.4% v 4.8%, P = < 0.01). However, this trial was underpowered.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic hysterectomy was associated with a significantly higher rate of major complications than abdominal hysterectomy. It also took longer to perform but was associated with less pain, quicker recovery, and better short term quality of life. The trial comparing vaginal hysterectomy with laparoscopic hysterectomy was underpowered and is inconclusive on the rate of major complications; however, vaginal hysterectomy took less time.