Women's perceptions of decision-making about hysterectomy

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Objective To explore women's views of decision-making relating to hysterectomy.

Design Structured questionnaire and in-depth interview surveys.

Setting A teaching hospital and a district general hospital in northeast Scotland.

Sample Women scheduled for hysterectomy for benign menstrual problems.

Methods Pre-operative questionnaires were sent to a consecutive sample of women booked for hysterectomy. A purposive sample was interviewed post-operatively.

Main outcome measures Women's experiences of, and satisfaction with, information provision, communication and decision-making processes; the relationship between views of decision-making processes and decisions made.

Results One hundred and four women (66%) returned questionnaires. Most responded positively to structured questions about the process by which the decision to have a hysterectomy was reached. Almost all (97%) reported satisfaction with the decision made. Twenty women were interviewed post-operatively. A number, including some who had responded positively on the questionnaire, described aspects of the decision-making process that were suboptimal. Women's perceptions of the decision-making process, including the way their doctors communicated with them, did impinge on their views of the course of action selected. Some women had residual doubts about the appropriateness of hysterectomy.

Conclusions In a significant minority of women, there are important shortcomings in current patterns of information provision and communication relating to decision-making. These are unlikely to be picked up by conventional structured patient feedback surveys. Further efforts are required to ensure that women are adequately informed and involved in decisions about gynaecological treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalBJOG-An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2004

Bibliographical note

The authors would to thank the all the gynaecological consultants in Aberdeen and Elgin who supported this study and allowed access to their patients. The authors would also like to thank all the women who participated in this study.

This study was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department. The Health Services Research Unit receives core funding from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department. The views expressed are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of the funders.


  • patient satisfaction
  • endometrial ablation
  • intrauterine system
  • randomized-trial
  • experiences
  • Menorrhagia
  • resection
  • therapy
  • surgery
  • scale


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