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Comparative Perioperative Pain and Recovery in Women Undergoing Vaginal Reconstruction Versus Robotic Sacrocolpopexy

Westermann, Lauren B. DO; Crisp, Catrina C. MD, MSc; Mazloomdoost, Donna MD; Kleeman, Steven D. MD; Pauls, Rachel N. MD

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: March/April 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 95–100
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000368
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Background In this study of patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy with either robotic or vaginal prolapse repair, there was no difference in quality of life in the weeks following surgery; however, less narcotics were used, less pain was documented by nurses and Surgical Pain Scale (SPS), and better performance on voiding trials was noted in those undergoing robotic sacrocolpopexy.

Objectives Minimally invasive surgery for pelvic organ prolapse is the preferred surgical route for optimal recovery. However, information regarding patient-centered outcomes among various techniques is lacking. We sought to describe pain and quality of life in patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy with uterosacral ligament suspension (USLS) compared with robotic-assisted sacrocolpopexy (RSC).

Methods This institutional review board–approved prospective cohort study enrolled consecutive patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy with USLS or with RSC. The primary outcome was pain on postoperative day 1 using the SPS. Nursing verbal pain scores, narcotic usage, surgical data, and Short-Form Health Survey 12 at baseline and 2 and 6 weeks after surgery were collected. A sample size calculation revealed 37 subjects per group would be required.

Results Seventy-eight women were enrolled (USLS, n = 39; RSC, n = 39). There were no significant differences in scores on the SPS between groups. Subjects undergoing RSC had lower nursing verbal pain scores (P = 0.04), less narcotic consumption (P = 0.02), and lower estimated blood loss (P = 0.01) and were less likely to fail voiding trials (P < 0.001); however, surgery duration was longer (P < 0.001). After controlling for age, regression analysis revealed SPS “worst pain” was lower in the robotic arm (P = 0.01), but not in other scales of the SPS. At 2 and 6 weeks postoperatively, Short-Form Health Survey 12 scores were not different between cohorts.

Conclusions Both USLS and RSC are minimally invasive, with similar quality-of-life scores after surgery. However, the robotic approach may be associated with less pain, less narcotic use, and better performance in voiding trials. Surgeons should consider these findings when counseling patients regarding treatment options.

From the Division of Urogynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, TriHealth Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Reprints: Lauren B. Westermann, DO, Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, Women & Babies Hospital, Women’s Specialty Center, 690 Good Dr, Lancaster, PA 17604. E-mail:

A grant for this work was received from the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation Medical Education Research Fund, Cincinnati, Ohio.

This article was accepted for full oral presentation at the American Urogynecologic Society PFD Week 2016.

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose. ID no. NCT02049996.

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