A new story from Australia is opening eyes around the world to the benefits of innovative, minimally invasive techniques for hysterectomies. In an article published by ABC Australia earlier this week, Australian medical experts commented on the scarce funding for the nation's health care system. While inefficiencies may exist in various areas of Australia's health care system, this set of Australian experts is pointing directly at surgeons performing invasive hysterectomies instead of less invasive options.
In Australia, roughly 30,000 women undergo hysterectomy surgery each year (there are more than 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in America). Nearly half of these women are undergoing open hysterectomy, a procedure that typically involves longer hospital stays and greater chances of side effects. Only 10 percent of women are offered laparoscopic hysterectomies – a minimally invasive procedure performed using tiny incisions and a tiny camera known as a laparoscope.
For these reasons, these Australian medical experts suggest, Australia is losing a considerable amount of money from its scarce health budget. They report that if all women were offered the laparoscopic procedure, the health system could save as much as $50 million each year.
Although laparoscopic hysterectomies may not always be an available option for every patient, it is clear that it does offer considerable cost-savings and benefits for both health care systems and patients. Data also shows that less invasive procedures – which can also include vaginal hysterectomy – can result in shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries.
The bid to stop wasting precious health care resources is supported by many in Australia. To achieve this, many experts are suggesting that more effort and resources be devoted to training doctors so that they can offer minimally invasive, cost-efficient hysterectomies. Savings for the health care system would be driven by the fact that more patients would be less likely to experience side effects or infections or return to the hospital.
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