The provocative study, being published Monday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, does not settle the issue. It does not track actual patients, but uses other data to create a model of the surgery's effects.
Still, the work promises to raise questions from women and their doctors about a procedure long accepted despite little evidence to back it.
Some 615,000 hysterectomies — the surgical removal of all or part of the uterus — are performed every year. Ninety percent of them are for noncancerous reasons. More than half of those women also get their ovaries removed not because the ovaries are diseased but as a protective measure against developing ovarian cancer in the future.
Ovary removal, or oophorectomy, has been deemed protective for women at high risk of ovarian cancer because they harbor cancer-causing genes or have a family history of the disease.