Is total laparoscopic hysterectomy with longer operative time associated with a decreased benefit compared with total abdominal hysterectomy?

Natalie Chakraborty, Stephen Rhodes, Douglas Luchristt, C. Emi Bretschneider, David Sheyn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: It is well known that, in general, total laparoscopic hysterectomy is associated with less perioperative morbidity compared with total abdominal hysterectomy. However, total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also associated with longer operating times, which itself is an independent predictor of morbidity. Currently, it is unknown whether there is an operative time threshold beyond which total laparoscopic hysterectomy provides a diminishing return and higher risk of morbidity than a shorter abdominal hysterectomy. Objective: This study aimed to determine whether there is an operative time limit beyond which the benefits of total laparoscopic hysterectomy diminished compared with shorter total abdominal hysterectomy. Study Design: Targeted hysterectomy-specific data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project was used to identify patients undergoing total laparoscopic hysterectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy for benign indications between the years 2014 and 2018. The primary outcomes of interest were any major morbidity, and the length of stay after surgery was analyzed using generalized linear models. The models controlled for demographic data, comorbidities, and hysterectomy-specific information, such as uterine weight, presence of endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease at the time of surgery. Missing data were addressed using multiple imputation analysis. Sensitivity analyses using propensity score matching and generalized additive models were performed to assess the effect of selection bias and nonlinear interactions between covariates and the outcomes, respectively. Common Procedural Terminology codes were used to identify women who underwent total abdominal hysterectomy (n=58,152) or total laparoscopic hysterectomy (n=58,570–58,573). Conventional laparoscopy could not be differentiated from robotic surgery as there is no mechanism for doing so within the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project. Therefore, total laparoscopic hysterectomy also includes robotic-assisted surgery. Additional exclusion criteria included any surgery lasting >360 minutes, as these represent significant outliers in the data and clinical practice; pelvic reconstructive procedure; anti-incontinence surgery; lymphadenectomy; radical hysterectomy; cytoreductive surgery; a pre- or postoperative diagnostic code for gynecologic malignancy; preoperative sepsis or renal failure; emergency surgery; or any concurrent nongynecologic surgery. Patients who underwent ureteral stenting during the procedure with no additional urologic procedures were included, as this may be performed at the time of hysterectomy or to address ureteral injury. Results: The mean operating time was similar for both routes, 129±60 minutes for total laparoscopic hysterectomy and 129±64 minutes for total abdominal hysterectomy (P=.45). The complication rate was higher for total abdominal hysterectomy than total laparoscopic hysterectomy (16.6% vs 7.7%; P<.001); and the median length of stay was longer for total abdominal hysterectomy (2 [interquartile range, 2–3] days vs 1 [interquartile range, 0–1] days; P<.001). After adjusting for confounders, an increase of 1 hour in operative time for hysterectomy was associated with a 45% (95% confidence interval, 41%–49%) increase in the risk of major morbidity; furthermore, total abdominal hysterectomy was associated with an additional time detriment, such that there was an additional 61% (95% confidence interval, 53%–68%) increase in the risk of a major morbidity for each additional hour of a total abdominal hysterectomy. There was no time point at which total abdominal hysterectomy was associated with less morbidity or a shorter length of stay than total laparoscopic hysterectomy, even if total laparoscopic hysterectomy was significantly longer than total abdominal hysterectomy. The same conclusions remained true with the propensity-matched analysis and generalized additive model analyses. Conclusion: Our findings showed that there is no reasonable operative time at which total laparoscopic hysterectomy is associated with a higher rate of complications or longer length of stay than total abdominal hysterectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205.e1-205.e12
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • hysterectomy, operative time, morbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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