This study aims to assess obstetrician-gynecologists’ opinions on elective bilateral oophorectomy (BO) at the time of hysterectomy in the United States and to describe factors that influence their views.
In April 2012, an anonymous survey was mailed twice to practicing obstetrician-gynecologists, randomly selected from a list produced by the American Medical Association, in an effort to assess their opinions regarding elective BO at the time of hysterectomy. The effects of gynecologists’ various characteristics on their opinions were also evaluated.
Of 1,002 mailed surveys, 443 (44%) were returned completed. Of the respondents, 59% were male and 79% were white. The largest age group was 51 to 55 years (20%), and the mean time since completion of residency was 23 years. In women with an average risk of ovarian cancer, the proportions of physicians who favored elective BO were as follows: women younger than 51 years, 32%; women aged 51 to 65 years, 62%; women older than 65 years, 6%. These recommendations were not influenced by the physicians’ age, sex, training, or geographic region. If a hysterectomy candidate was younger than 51 years and had a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer and a family history of ovarian cancer, these proportions were increased to 77% and 64%, respectively. Other factors that influenced the respondents’ recommendations were the women’s personal history of cardiovascular disease (21%), osteoporosis (23%), and sexual dysfunction (23%).
One third of obstetrician-gynecologists continue to recommend elective BO for hysterectomy candidates younger than 51 years. The majority recommend elective BO for women aged 51 to 65 years. Their demographic characteristics do not influence their opinions.