Vaginal reconstructive surgery for severe pelvic organ prolapses: a 'uterine-sparing' technique using polypropylene prostheses

D De Vita, F Araco, G Gravante, F Sesti, E Piccione
European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 2008, 139 (2): 245-51

OBJECTIVE: The Ulmsten's "Integral Theory" for pelvic floor dysfunctions is based on the need to reinforce fascias and ligaments with prostheses to obtain a reconstitution of the pelvic floor's anatomy. In September 2004 we developed a "uterine-sparing" surgical technique to correct such pathologies and in this paper we present results obtained. Primary outcome was to evaluate the technique's efficacy, secondary outcomes the resolution of stress urinary incontinence, postoperative pain (VAS scale), safety and complications.

STUDY DESIGN: This prospective study included patients affected by stage 3 and 4 uterine-vaginal prolapse who wished to conserve their uterus. Those with (1) minor degrees of severity, (2) unfit for surgery, (3) with a clear indication to hysterectomy (i.e. endometrial cancer), (4) with an elevated operative risk (American Society of Anaesthesiologists-ASA score III and IV), (5) previous vaginal surgeries and (6) with moderate/severe defecation problems were excluded. The technique consisted in a sacrospinous colposuspension with polypropylene mesh. The pelvic status was classified according to the international Pelvic Organ Prolapse staging system (POP-Q). Postoperative pain was scored with the VAS Scale. All patients were given the King's Health questionnaire, the Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire (PISQ-12) and the Wexner questionnaire.

RESULTS: From September 2004 to November 2006 we treated 80 patients. Polypropylene prostheses (Gynemesh-Soft PS, 10cmx15cm - GyneMesh, Gynecare Ethicon - Somerville, NJ, USA) were used to reconstruct the pubo-cervix or the recto-vaginal fascia. We performed an anterior-central vaginal reconstruction in 35 (43.8%) patients, central-posterior in 25 (31%) and total reconstruction in 20 (25%). The median follow-up was 21 months (range 18-26). The severe pelvic prolapse, evaluated with the POP-Q System, was completely treated in all the patients and no recurrences were observed. The urodynamic examination showed a complete resolution of the stress urinary incontinence in 10 patients (83%). Sexual activities improved in all patients. We recorded three vaginal erosions and one patient complained of a postoperative dyspareunia.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study suggests that our technique is safe and effective and can efficiently repair the pelvic organs prolapse, without undergoing hysterectomy and with a low rate of vaginal erosions.

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