Endometrial ablation; less is more? Historical cohort study comparing long-term outcomes from two time periods and two treatment modalities for 854 women
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Abnormal uterine bleeding needs surgical treatment if medical therapy fails. After introduction of non-hysteroscopic endometrial ablation as alternative to hysteroscopic endometrial resection, we aimed to compare short and long-term outcomes for women treated with these two minimally-invasive procedures. A secondary goal was comparing the present cohort to a previous cohort of women treated with hysteroscopic resection only. Materials and methods: Historical cohort study of women treated for abnormal uterine bleeding with hysteroscopic resection or endometrial ablation at Haukeland University Hospital during 2006–2014. Similar patient file and patient-reported outcome data were collected from 386 hysteroscopic resections in a previous cohort (1992–1998). Categorical variables were compared by Chi-square or Fisher´s Exact-test, linear variables by Mann-Whitney U-test and time to hysterectomy by the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: During 2006–2014, 772 women were treated with endometrial resection or ablation, 468 women (61%) consented to study-inclusion; 333 women (71%) were treated with hysteroscopic resection and 135 (29%) with endometrial ablation. Preoperative characteristics were significantly different for women treated with hysteroscopic resection compared to endometrial ablation in the 2006-2014-cohort and between the two time-cohorts regarding menopausal, sterilization and myoma status (p≤0.036). The endometrial ablation group had significantly shorter operation time, median 13 minutes (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 12–14) and a lower complication rate (2%) versus operation time, median 25 minutes (95% CI 23–26) and complication rate (13%) in the hysteroscopy group, all p ≤0.001. The patient-reported rate of satisfaction with treatment was equivalent in both groups (85%, p = 0.955). The endometrial ablation group had lower hysterectomy rate (8% vs 16%, p = 0.024). Patient-reported satisfaction rate was higher (85%) in the 2006-2014-cohort compared with the 1992-1998-cohort (73%), p<0.001. Conclusions: Endometrial ablation has similar patient satisfaction rate, but shorter operation time and lower complication rate and may be a good alternative to hysteroscopic resection for treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.