We know that the 2 million older adults who have some type of abdominal surgery each year are at higher risk than others of suffering complications and early death, but until recently there was little known about the risks specific to people 65 and older. Of course this lack of information makes it challenging for clinicians, patients, and families to make informed decisions.
Researchers from the University of Washington examined medical records of 101,318 adults age 65 or older who underwent abdominal procedures from 1987 to 2004. Procedures included in the research were cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal), hysterectomy, and colectomy.
Researchers found as patients got older, the rate of complications and death increased. Their findings appear in the December Archives of Surgery —
After adjusting for demographic, patient and surgical characteristics as well as hospital volume, the odds of early postoperative death increased considerably with each advance in age category. These associations were found among patients with both cancer and noncancer diagnoses and for both elective and nonelective admissions.
Older adults may be less able to adapt to the stress of surgery or to the added stress of any postoperative complication, greatly increasing their risk of early mortality. These effects appear to be additive, highlighting the need for interventions to both prevent decline among older patients and avoid postsurgical complications.
Before having a hysterectomy, it is important to discuss other possible treatments with your health care provider. Depending on the underlying condition, certain alternative treatments may be used before your doctor recommends a hysterectomy.
If you decide to go ahead with the surgery, keep in mind that each woman will need a different amount of time for rehabilitation.
Hysterectomy recovery time will also vary depending upon what type of operation a woman underwent. The condition which precipitates a hysterectomy and the severity of that condition will also affect how long it takes for a woman to return to her normal routine. Still, it is possible to offer a reasonable estimate of a woman’s hysterectomy recovery time and the feelings and side effects she may experience during recuperation.