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News1991October › New dangers of womb op › October 1991

New dangers of womb op

As we predicted in an previous WDDTY (Vol 2 No 5), doctors, formerly enthusing a few months ago about the gynaecological breakthrough, endometrial resection, are now issuing warnings, following the deaths of five women under

You heard it here first. As we predicted in an previous WDDTY (Vol 2 No 5), doctors, formerly enthusing a few months ago about the gynaecological breakthrough, endometrial resection, are now issuing warnings, following the deaths of five women under

In two other cases, a patient lost a leg and another suffered a hole in the aorta (main artery) as a result of the procedure, even though It was handled by very experienced surgeons.

Some gynaecologists now believe that the technique, much hailed in the press, is less safe than hysterectomy.

Uterine perforation was just one outcome causing "terrible complications", said Dr Mary Lumsden, senior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

In one instance reported in The Lancet (20 July 1991) a patient whose uterus was perforated during the operation nearly died. After the operation she has complained of chronic pelvic pain and diarrhoea.

One problem is that endometrial resection can stimulate a particular nerve, causing violent closing of the patient's thighs, and thus causing the surgeon to "miss" and perforate the womb.

In one study comparing resection with hysterectomy, one in 20 of the women with laser resections went on to have hysterectomies.

Doctors are now warning other doctors and their patients not to press for the procedure unless they are one of a small group of well selected women.


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