The effect of pessary treatment on puborectalis muscle function

Claudia Manzini*, Frieda van den Noort, Anique T.M. Grob, Mariëlla I.J. Withagen, Carl H. van der Vaart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction and hypothesis: The objective was to assess if puborectalis muscle (PRM) function changes in women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) undergoing pessary treatment. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of women with symptomatic POP choosing pessary treatment. An interview, clinical examination and 3D/4D transperineal ultrasound were performed at baseline and at 3-month follow-up. POP was assessed using the Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification system (POPQ). Parameters compared between baseline and follow-up were: hiatal area at rest (HArest), maximal contraction (HActx), and maximal Valsalva maneuver (HAVal), displacement in contraction (DISPL-ctx, i.e., relative difference between HArest and HActx), and displacement in Valsalva (DISPL-Val, i.e., relative difference between and HAVal and HArest). Parameters were compared in women with and those without complete avulsion. Results: A total of 162 women were assessed and 34 were included. Mean age was 64 years (SD 11.4), and mean BMI 24 kg/m2 (SD 3.1). Thirty-one women had a cystocele, 8 a uterine prolapse, and 12 had a posterior compartment prolapse. Twenty-one women (61.8%) had a POP stage II, and 13 (38.2%) a POP stage III. Ring pessaries were most frequently used (97%). In the entire group a statistically significant increase in DISPL-ctx was observed (mean difference 2.1%, p = 0.017). In the no avulsion group HArest and DISPL-ctx increased significantly (mean difference 4.1%, p = 0.016 and 2.7%, p = 0.016 respectively) and the increase in DISPL-ctx was higher than in the avulsion group (mean difference 2.7% vs 0.2%, p = 0.056). Conclusion: Our results show that PRM function changes in women with POP undergoing pessary treatment and suggest that such change occurs mainly in the absence of complete avulsion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1417
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number6
Early online date13 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Avulsion
  • Pelvic floor
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Puborectalis muscle
  • Transperineal ultrasound
  • Vaginal pessaries

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