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Medium-Term Changes in Vaginal Accommodation and Sexual Function After Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery

Kim-Fine, Shunaha MD*; Smith, Carin Y. BS; Gebhart, John B. MD, MS*; Occhino, John A. MD, MS*

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: January/February 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 27–32
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000037
Original Articles

Objectives Vaginal shortening and narrowing is an uncommon complication of vaginal reconstructive surgery for prolapse and may cause sexual dysfunction and dyspareunia. We hypothesize that vaginal length, caliber, and sexual function will remain unchanged between the initial (6 weeks to 6 months) and medium-term (18–36 months) postoperative periods.

Methods Women who had previously undergone native tissue vaginal reconstructive surgery for symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse and did not undergo intentional vaginal shortening and narrowing were invited to participate by completing a survey and undergoing a physical examination. Vaginal obturators of variable diameters were used to measure vaginal length and caliber. Sexual function was assessed using the Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire-12. Women were asked to complete the same checklist assessing barriers (if not sexually active) or interfering factors (if sexually active) to sexual activity.

Results Survey results were available from 41 women with mean ± SD age at surgery of 63.7 ± 10.6 years. Among those sexually active at both postoperative periods (22 women), mean Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire-12 scores were unchanged between the initial and medium-term postoperative periods (34.1 ± 6.0 vs 32.9 ± 6.0; P = 0.19). Vaginal dryness was the most common interfering factor to sexual activity. Vaginal length and caliber were unchanged between measurements at the initial postoperative and the medium-term postoperative periods.

Conclusion There was no significant change in vaginal anatomy measurements or sexual function between initial (6 weeks to 6 months) and medium-term (18–36 months) postoperative periods after vaginal reconstructive surgery.

Vaginal anatomy measurements and sexual function are unchanged between initial and medium-term postoperative periods after vaginal reconstructive surgery.

From the Divisions of *Gynecologic Surgery and †Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Reprints: John A. Occhino, MD, MS, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Division of Gynecologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail:

Dr. Gebhart serves as consultant for Ethicon Women’s Health & Urology and Coloplast; is on the advisory board of Boston Scientific; conducts research for the American Medical Systems.

Dr. Fine, Ms. Smith, and Dr. Occhino have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Individual authors’ contributions: S Kim-Fine: protocol/project development, data collection or management, data analysis, manuscript writing/editing; CY Smith: data analysis, manuscript editing; JB Gebhart: protocol/project development, manuscript editing; and JA Occhino: protocol/project development and manuscript editing.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins