Outcomes of vaginal hysterectomy for uterovaginal prolapse: a population-based, retrospective, cross-sectional study of patient perceptions of results including sexual activity, urinary symptoms, and provided care
BACKGROUND: Vaginal hysterectomy is often used to correct uterovaginal prolapse, however, there is little information regarding outcomes after surgery in routine clinical practice. The objective of this study was to investigate complications, sexual activity, urinary symptoms, and satisfaction with health care after vaginal hysterectomy due to prolapse. METHODS: We analyzed data from the Swedish National Register for Gynecological Surgery (SNRGS) from January 1997 to August 2005. Women participating in the SNRGS were asked to complete surveys at two and six months postoperatively. Of 941 women who underwent vaginal hysterectomy for uterovaginal prolapse, 791 responded to questionnaires at two months and 682 at six months. Complications during surgery and hospital stay were investigated. The two-month questionnaire investigated complications after discharge, and patients' satisfaction with their health care. Sexual activity and urinary symptoms were reported and compared in preoperative and six-month postoperative questionnaires. RESULTS: Almost 60% of women reported normal activity of daily life (ADL) within one week of surgery, irrespective of their age. Severe complications occurred in 3% and were mainly intra-abdominal bleeding and vaginal vault hematomas. Six months postoperative, sexual activity had increased for 20% (p = 0.006) of women and urinary urgency was reduced for 50% (p = 0.001); however, 14% (n = 76) of women developed urinary incontinence, 76% (n = 58) of whom reported urinary stress incontinence. Patients were satisfied with the postoperative result in 93% of cases and 94% recommended the surgery. CONCLUSION: Vaginal hysterectomy is a patient-evaluated efficient treatment for uterovaginal prolapse with swift recovery and a low rate of complication. Sexual activity and symptoms of urinary urgency were improved. However, 14% developed incontinence, mainly urinary stress incontinence (11%). Therefore efforts to disclose latent stress incontinence should be undertaken preoperatively.