Thirty Years of Cystocele/Rectocele Repair in the United States

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A growing body of evidence suggests an increased role for apical support in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse regardless of phenotype. The objective of this study was to determine whether changes in cystocele/rectocele diagnosis and surgical management for the last 30 years reflect this changing paradigm.


Data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey were mined from 1979 to 2009 for diagnosis and procedure codes. Records were categorized according to predefined combinations of diagnosis and procedure codes and weighted according to the National Hospital Discharge Survey data set. Pearson χ2 test was used to evaluate the changes in population proportions during the study interval.


The proportion of isolated cystocele/rectocele diagnoses decreased from 1979 to 2009 (56.5%, n = 88,548, to 34.8%, n = 31,577). The proportion of isolated apical defect diagnoses increased from 1979 to 2009 (38.4%, n = 60,223, to 60.8%, n = 55,153). There was a decrease in the frequency of isolated cystocele/rectocele repair procedures performed from 1979 to 2009 (96.3%, n = 150,980, to 67.7%, n = 61,444), whereas there was an increase in isolated apical defect repair procedures (2.5%, n = 3929, to 22.5%, n = 20,450). The proportion of cystocele/rectocele plus apical defect procedures also increased (1.2%, n = 1879, to 9.7%, n = 8806). Furthermore, 87.0% of all studied diagnostic groups were managed by cystocele/rectocele repair alone.


Surgeons have responded to the increased contribution of apical support defects to cystocele/rectocele by modifying their diagnostic coding practices. Unfortunately, their surgical choices remain largely rooted in an older paradigm.

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