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Pelvic Floor: Gynecology

Pelvic floor trauma following vaginal delivery.
Dietz HP
Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Oct;18(5):528-37.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent years have seen a steady increase in the information available regarding pelvic floor trauma in childbirth. A review of this information is timely in view of the ongoing discussion concerning elective caesarean section. RECENT FINDINGS: In addition to older evidence regarding pudendal nerve injury, it has recently been shown that inferior aspects of the levator ani and fascial pelvic organ supports such as the rectovaginal septum can be disrupted in childbirth. Such trauma is associated with pelvic organ prolapse, bowel dysfunction, and urinary incontinence. Elective caesarean section seems to have a limited protective effect that appears to weaken with time. Older age at first delivery may be associated with a higher likelihood of trauma and subsequent symptoms. SUMMARY: Pelvic floor trauma is a reality, not a myth. It is currently not possible, however, to advise patients as to whether avoidance of potential intrapartum pelvic floor trauma is worth the risk, cost, and effort of elective caesarean section. In some women this may well be the case. The identification of women at high risk for delivery-related pelvic floor trauma should be a priority for future research in this field.

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Risk factors for the breakdown of perineal laceration repair after vaginal delivery.
Williams MK, Chames MC
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Sep;195(3):755-9.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors that are associated with the breakdown of perineal laceration repair in the postpartum period. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective, case-control study to review perineal laceration repair breakdown in patients who were delivered between September 1995 and February 2005 at the University of Michigan. Bivariate analysis with chi-square test and t-test and stepwise logistic regression analysis were performed. RESULTS: Fifty-nine cases and 118 control deliveries were identified from a total of 14,124 vaginal deliveries. Risk factors were longer second stage of labor (142 vs 87 minutes; P = .001), operative vaginal delivery (odds ratio, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.8-7.3), mediolateral episiotomy (odds ratio, 6.9; 95% CI, 2.6-18.7), third- or fourth-degree laceration (odds ratio, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.5-6.4), and meconium-stained amniotic fluid (odds ratio, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-7.9). Previous vaginal delivery was protective (odds ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.18-0.84). Logistic regression showed the most significant factor to be an interaction between operative vaginal delivery and mediolateral episiotomy (odd ratio, 6.36; 95% CI, 2.18-18.57). CONCLUSION: The most significant events were mediolateral episiotomy, especially in conjunction with operative vaginal delivery, third- and fourth-degree lacerations, and meconium.

Operative vaginal delivery and midline episiotomy: a bad combination for the perineum.
Kudish B, Blackwell S, Mcneeley SG, Bujold E, Kruger M, Hendrix SL, Sokol R
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Sep;195(3):749-54.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of operative vaginal delivery (forceps or vacuum) and midline episiotomy on the risk of severe perineal trauma. STUDY DESIGN: In this retrospective cohort study, we assessed the impact of maternal and obstetric factors on the risk of development of severe perineal trauma (third- and fourth-degree perineal lacerations) for all singleton, vertex vaginal live births (n = 33,842) between 1996 and 2003. RESULTS: Among nulliparous women, 12.1% had operative vaginal delivery, 22.4% had midline episiotomy, and 8.1% experienced severe perineal trauma. Among multiparous women, 3.4% had operative vaginal delivery, 4.2% had midline episiotomy, and 1.2% experienced severe perineal trauma. Controlling for maternal age, ethnicity, birth weight and head circumference, evaluation of the interaction of episiotomy and delivery method revealed that forceps (nulliparous women: odds ratio [OR] 8.6, 95% CI 6.5-10.7; multiparous women: OR 26.3, 95% CI 18.1-34.5) and episiotomy (nulliparous women: OR 4.5, 95% CI 3.7-5.4; multiparous women: OR 14.6, 95% CI 10.4-20.5) were consistently associated with the increased risk of anal sphincter trauma. In fact, the magnitude of effect of the statistically significant synergistic interaction was evidenced by more than 3-fold excess of risk of using operative vaginal delivery alone. CONCLUSION: The use of operative vaginal delivery, particularly in combination with midline episiotomy, was associated with a significant increase in the risk of anal sphincter trauma in both primigravid and multigravid women. Given the reported substantial long-term adverse consequences for anal function, this combination of operative modalities should be avoided if possible.

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Parity, mode of delivery, and pelvic floor disorders.
Lukacz ES, Lawrence JM, Contreras R, Nager CW, Luber KM
Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jun;107(6):1253-60.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the associations between parity, mode of delivery, and pelvic floor disorders. METHODS: The prevalence of pelvic organ prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, and anal incontinence was assessed in a random sample of women aged 25-84 years by using the validated Epidemiology of Prolapse and Incontinence Questionnaire. Women were categorized as nulliparous, vaginally parous, or only delivered by cesarean. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each disorder were calculated with logistic regression, controlling for age, body mass index, and parity. RESULTS: In the 4,458 respondents the prevalence of each disorder was as follows: 7% prolapse, 15% stress urinary incontinence, 13% overactive bladder, 25% anal incontinence, and 37% for any one or more pelvic floor disorders. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of disorders between the cesarean delivery and nulliparous groups. The adjusted odds of each disorder increased with vaginal parity compared with cesarean delivery: prolapse = 1.82 (95% CI 1.04-3.19), stress urinary incontinence = 1.81 (95% CI 1.25-2.61), overactive bladder = 1.53 (95% CI 1.02-2.29), anal incontinence = 1.72 (95% CI 1.27-2.35), and any one or more pelvic floor disorders = 1.85 (95% CI 1.42-2.41). Number-needed-to-treat analysis revealed that 7 women would have to deliver only by cesarean delivery to prevent one woman from having a pelvic floor disorder. CONCLUSION: The risk of pelvic floor disorders is independently associated with vaginal delivery but not with parity alone. Cesarean delivery has a protective effect, similar to nulliparity, on the development of pelvic floor disorders when compared with vaginal delivery. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II-2.

Length of the second stage of labor as a predictor of perineal outcome after vaginal delivery.
Sheiner E, Walfisch A, Hallak M, Harlev S, Mazor M, Shoham-Vardi I
J Reprod Med. 2006 Feb;51(2):115-9.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate possible risk factors for spontaneous and induced perineal damage during vaginal delivery. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective, observational study was conducted with 300 patients at 37-42 weeks of singleton gestation who presented in active labor. Sociodemographic data, birth circumstances and past medical history were obtained upon admission. Perineal damage was assessed before repair and 24 hours postpartum. A multiple logistic regression model was constructed to investigate independent risk factors for spontaneous perineal lacerations. RESULTS: Of 300 women included, 139 were primiparas. Episiotomy was performed in 32% of the population (62% in primiparas, 6% in multiparas). Spontaneous perineal tears requiring suturing occurred in 28%. Severe perineal tears (grades 3 and 4) occurred in 1%. Risk factors for adverse perineal outcome in the nonepisiotomy group included younger maternal age, non-Israeli ethnic background, use of epidural analgesia, nulliparity, shorter interval since last vaginal delivery, longer active phase and prolonged second stage. Prolonged second stage (> 40 minutes) and low parity were independent risk factors for perineal tears in a multivariable analysis. CONCLUSION: Identifying women in specific subgroups at high risk for perineal lacerations may minimize perineal damage. Women with a prolonged second stage of labor and low parity are prone for spontaneous damage and therefore deserve special attention.