Doctors often downplay the surgical dangers of hysterectomies, says Dr. Herbert A. Goldfarb, author of a new book, "The No-Hysterectomy Option."
Of the 1 million hysterectomies performed each year in North America, about 2,000 women die and another 240,000 experience complications.
Dr. Mark Chassin, senior vice president of Value Health Sciences, a Santa Monica-based health utilization research firm that has studied medical requirements for hysterectomy, agrees with Goldfarb.
"I think the risks tend to be understated. The risk of death following hysterectomy is not communicated with a degree of definitiveness," he says.
"That's not to mention the possible complications and the long-term (side effects) that often go completely undiscussed. What are you going to feel like in a year with your uterus gone? I don't think those questions get enough attention."