Prolapse surgery versus vaginal pessary in women with symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse: which factors influence the choice of treatment?

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2019 Mar;299(3):773-777. doi: 10.1007/s00404-019-05046-7. Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Objective: To investigate which specific clinical factors influence patients' choice of prolapse treatment.

Methods: This study includes a total of 510 cases with symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse (POP) of stage II or higher requiring prolapse treatment. Patients were divided into surgery and pessary groups according to their own choice and treatment preference. Primary outcome of interest was to define potential clinical parameters, which contribute to surgical treatment decision.

Results: A total of 252/510 (49%) women decided for prolapse surgery and 258/510 (51%) cases were treated conservatively with vaginal pessary. Hypertension, COPD as well as polypharmacy were parameters, which were statistically significantly more common in the pessary group compared to the surgically managed cases (p <0.05). On the contrary, women undergoing prolapse surgery were significantly younger and showed more advanced POP-Q (pelvic organ prolapse quantification) stages (p < 0.05). Clinical factors, such as BMI (body mass index), parity, mode of delivery and postmenopausal status, did not differ between the two groups (p > 0.05). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that advanced POP-Q stage (p < 0.001) as well as the absence of smoking (p < 0.001) were independent factors associated with surgical treatment decision.

Conclusion: Women, who favoured prolapse surgery, were younger and in significant better health condition (less hypertension and COPD), but showed a significantly higher POP-Q stage compared to women choosing pessary treatment. Our data indicate that women with higher POP-Q stage and non-smokers tended to decide for prolapse surgery. This information could help in clinical practice to guide patients for the best possible treatment decision and strengthen individual counselling.

Keywords: Clinical parameters; Pelvic organ prolapse; Pessary use; Prolapse surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / pathology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Pessaries / trends*
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome