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THURSDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The number of inpatient obstetric and gynecologic surgical procedures has been trending downward, though they still make up a sizable proportion of inpatient procedures for U.S. women, according to research published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Sallie S. Oliphant, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues collected data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey and the 1990 U.S. Census to estimate trends in obstetric and gynecologic inpatient surgical procedures from 1979 to 2006.
The researchers found that obstetric and gynecologic procedures accounted for 26.5 percent of all surgical procedures on women. The majority of these (64 percent) were obstetric procedures, with only 29 percent comprising gynecologic procedures. The remaining 7 percent were combination obstetric/gynecologic procedures. Overall, procedures dropped from 5,351,000 in 1979 to 4,949,000 in 2006; however, spontaneous vaginal deliveries, cesarean deliveries, and incontinence procedures increased over this time period.
"The decrease in inpatient gynecologic procedure trends over the study period likely reflects changing practice patterns, including increased use of minimally invasive outpatient surgeries and advances in medical treatments offered in place of surgery," the authors write.
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