Patient Preferences for Abdominal Incisions Used for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2015 Nov-Dec;21(6):348-54. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000186.


Objectives: Approaches for performing sacrocolpopexy (laparotomy, laparoscopy, and robotically assisted) differ with regard to length of surgery, postoperative pain, and cosmetic appearance of skin incisions. The aim of our study is to better understand what factors influence patient preferences for surgical approach.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed using a survey. Females 18 years or older presenting to gynecologic offices were asked to complete a survey that included photographs of patient incisions 6 weeks postoperatively along with a schematic representation of each incision type (laparotomy with low transverse incision, traditional laparoscopy, and robotically assisted). Patients were first asked to rank each incision based on cosmetic appearance only. They were next given varying clinical scenarios associated with each surgical approach and asked if their preference of incision changed. A sample size of 90 subjects was needed in order to detect a 30% difference in incision preference based on appearance with an α of 0.05 and 80% power.

Results: One hundred fifty patients completed the survey. Based on cosmetic appearance alone, 70% chose laparoscopic surgery, 23% chose open, and 7% chose the robotic approach (P < 0.0001). The majority of the subjects would not change their incision preference of laparoscopy based on differing scenarios of postoperative pain (62.6%), length of surgery (65.3%), and length of hospital stay (73.6%). When asked to rank factors important in decision making, complication rate (53.9%) and surgeon experience with the procedure (32.8%) were ranked as most important.

Conclusions: Based on cosmetic appearance, patients prefer the laparoscopic approach for abdominal sacrocolpopexy for pelvic organ prolapse surgery. However, complication rates and surgeon experience with the procedure are important factors in the patient's decision making.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Esthetics*
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Risk Factors
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires