Restrictions and limitations after pelvic floor surgery: what's the evidence?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

A common concern regarding pelvic floor surgery is the relatively high risk of recurrence. In an effort to minimize this risk, many surgeons instruct their patients to avoid certain activities during the healing process so as not to damage the repair before proper healing has occurred. However, many of these restrictions have been historically based on little to no hard evidence. The purpose of this review is to present the latest evidence-based recommendations regarding restrictions and limitations after pelvic floor surgery.

Recent findings

The current review covers postoperative activities that could impact proper healing of a vaginal incision and of the strength of the reconstruction itself. It also looks at safety of the patient and those around her as she heals. Topics include pelvic rest, swimming, lifting exercising, working, and driving. Observational research suggests that many unavoidable activities of daily living may have as great, if not an even greater, risk of impacting the healing process than many of the modifiable activity restrictions that are commonly imposed on patients. This may explain why recent clinical trials show no greater problem with healing in patients randomized to less strict postoperative restrictions than the standard.

Summary

Although further research is necessary, it appears that patients are more satisfied with less strict postoperative limitations, and this less restrictive activity may not have any significant negative impact on the healing process.

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