Andreas Stang and colleagues conducted an epidemiological report on hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, rates in Germany. The researchers based their report on nationwide statistics relating to diagnosis-related groups in Germany for 2005 to 2006.
The research team found 4 percent of women age 50 and under who underwent hysterectomy for a reason other than cancer had a bilateral oophorectomy -- surgical removal of ovaries -- in the same operation, even though recent studies have shown this is associated with an elevated risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
The study, published in the Deutsches Arzteblatt International, says fewer women underwent hysterectomy for benign indications in Hamburg, for example, than in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania during the same interval.
Factors influencing the hysterectomy rate included not just the patient's concomitant illnesses, but also social status and health insurance class and the sex of the gynecologist, the researchers found.