Background: Pelvic organ prolapse is common, with some degree of prolapse seen in up to 50% of parous women in a clinic setting although many are asymptomatic. A number of symptoms may be associated with prolapse and treatments include surgery, mechanical devices and conservative therapies. A variety of mechanical devices or pessaries are described which aim to alleviate the symptoms of prolapse and avert or delay the need for surgery.
Objectives: To determine the effects of mechanical devices for pelvic organ prolapse.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group trials register (24 February 2004), MEDLINE (January 1966 to January 2003), PREMEDLINE (15 January 2003), EMBASE (January 1996 to January 2003), CINAHL (January 1982 to February 2003), PEDro (October 2003), the UK National Research Register (Issue 3, 2003), Controlled Clinical Trials (April 2003) and ZETOC (April 2003). We searched the reference lists of relevant articles.
Selection criteria: Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials which included a mechanical device for pelvic organ prolapse in one arm of the study.
Data collection and analysis: No eligible, completed, published or unpublished randomised controlled studies were found, therefore no data collection or analysis was possible.
Main results: There was a dearth of studies on the use of mechanical devices and no published reports of randomised trials were identified. One study on pessary usage was excluded as it was not a randomised trial.
Reviewers' conclusions: Currently there is no evidence from randomised controlled trials upon which to base treatment of women with pelvic organ prolapse through the use of mechanical devices/pessaries. There is no consensus on the use of different types of device, the indications, nor the pattern of replacement and follow-up care. There is an urgent need for randomised studies to address the use of mechanical devices in comparison with no treatment, surgery and conservative measures.