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Measuring the impact of a posterior compartment procedure on symptoms of obstructed defecation and posterior vaginal compartment anatomy


Introduction and hypothesis

We hypothesized that there would be a significant difference in changes in obstructed defecation symptoms and posterior compartment prolapse between women who underwent posterior vaginal wall prolapse repair (PR) and those who did not.


This was a two-site prospective cohort study of women undergoing prolapse or incontinence surgery in which a PR was, or was not, performed at the discretion of the surgeon. Women were assessed using validated obstructed defecation questionnaires and standardized examination measures (including POP-Q, measurement of transverse gh, and assessment for a rectovaginal pocket and laxity) prior to pelvic surgery and 12 weeks after surgery.


Of 68 women who underwent surgery, 43 had PR. The PR group had higher obstructed defecation symptoms and greater posterior compartment prolapse at baseline. At 12 weeks, obstructed defecation symptoms had improved significantly more in the PR group than in the no PR group (all p < 0.03). Anatomic outcomes showed greater improvement in point Bp in the PR group (-3.4 vs. -0.7 no PR, p < 0.001) and resolution of the rectovaginal pocket (86 % vs. 42 %, p = 0.002). There were no significant changes in obstructed defecation symptoms or anatomic outcomes from baseline in the no PR group, while the PR group showed significantly improved obstructed defecation symptoms and anatomic outcomes after repair (p < 0.001 for both).


Significant improvements in obstructed defecation symptoms and posterior compartment prolapse were seen after PR, but not in women who did not receive PR. Obstructed defecation symptoms, Bp and rectovaginal pocket were the measures best able to demonstrate improvement after PR. We recommend the use of these measures to assess the impact of surgery in the posterior compartment.

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