Health Keyhole surgery better for cancer hysterectomies

Keyhole surgery better for cancer hysterectomies

Survival rates after hysterectomies performed by keyhole surgery have proved to be just as good – and safer – for women with a common form of uterine cancer as a more invasive abdominal surgery.

A 10-year global study involving QUT monitored 760 women in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong who had undergone either a total abdominal hysterectomy.

The surgeries involved either an incision in the abdomen, or a total laparoscopic hysterectomy performed through three or four small keyhole incisions.

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynaecological cancer in developed countries, and 80 per cent of cases are diagnosed at early stages.

The main treatment of early-stage endometrial cancer is surgery.

QUT researcher Professor Monika Janda said women had traditionally been told the total abdominal surgery was a safer operation with better long-term outcomes, even though the keyhole surgery had quicker recovery time.

“This is the end of a 10-year study and it really does give reassurance to women who have to have a hysterectomy,” she said.

“When we started our research back in 2005, there were strong opinions against total laparoscopic hysterectomies, with some clinicians warning that women would suffer harm from this new surgical technique.”

“This study has now proven that a woman with endometrial cancer can have a total laparoscopic hysterectomy through keyhole surgery, have much better short-term results and her long-term outcome is just as good as a woman who has a total abdominal hysterectomy.”

QUT health economist Professor Nick Graves said the university had previously shown there were tangible economic benefits via a linked study that he led researching the cost for hysterectomies.

“The results of that study were released in 2013 found that, although the initial surgery costs for laparoscopic hysterectomies were higher, we found the overall cost to the health system was less because patients needed fewer hospital bed days and had higher quality-adjusted life years after surgery,” Professor Graves said.

Professor Janda said that given its better short-term results, combined with the equivalent survival rates, keyhole hysterectomies should be considered the standard of care for patients with early endometrial cancer.

Read more about the study’s findings here. Story credit: QUT newsroom.

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