Objective: To assess the impact of endometrial ablation on the utilization of hysterectomy in U.S. women with benign uterine conditions.
Methods: Data are from the State Inpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project for six states, 1990–97. Women who underwent hysterectomy (ICD-9-CM codes 68.3, 68.4, 68.5, 68.51, 68.59, 68.9) and endometrial ablation (68.23, 69.29) and had benign uterine conditions (ICD-9-CM code 218.0 and CCS groupings 47, 171, 173, 175, 176, 215) were extracted. Comparative rates, length of stay, total charges, age, payer, hospital, and teaching status of the hospital are reported.
Results: The rates of hysterectomy decreased in three states: Colorado (37% decrease; 33 per 10,000 women in 1990 to 21 per 10,000 in 1997), Maryland (18% decrease; 17/10,000 in 1990 to 14/10,000 in 1997), and New Jersey (11% decrease; 9/10,000 to 8/10,000); were static in two states (Connecticut and New York) and increased in one state, Wisconsin (11% increase; 19/10,000 in 1994 to 21/10,000 in 1997). The rates for endometrial ablation increased in all states. The ratio of hysterectomy rates to endometrial ablation rates fell in each state across the 7 years. In two states (New York and New Jersey) the rate of endometrial ablation was equivalent to the rate of hysterectomies by 1997. The total combined rate for hysterectomy and endometrial ablation for women with benign uterine conditions for each state increased by more than 10%, with the exception of Maryland, which had an increase of only 5%, and Colorado, which had a decline of 23%.
Conclusions: In the six states studied, the diffusion of endometrial ablation has had a varying impact on hysterectomy rates among women with benign uterine conditions. However, endometrial ablation is used as an additive medical technology rather than a substitute.