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Early Return to Physical Activity After Prolapse Surgery Could be Encouraged


Alexis Porter
Alexis Porter
919-695-2792 Email

DURHAM, N.C. – Patients who had prolapse surgery for pelvic floor disorders do just as well when they resume physical activity soon after the procedure compared to patients who restrict activities.

The finding could change standard post-surgery instructions, which currently discourages patients from resuming exercise and activity levels for several weeks.

Matthew Barber M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine, is the senior author of the study published May 31 in JAMA Surgery.

Investigators sought to determine whether resuming exercise immediately after surgery would result in similar anatomic and symptomatic outcomes when compared to standard guidelines.

They enrolled 107 women who were randomly assigned to two groups. In the first group, patients followed standard restrictions to avoid lifting more than 10 pounds for six weeks, and not return to work for two to six weeks.

A second group of patients had no lifting or activity restrictions and were permitted to return to work as soon as they were able.

After three months, the researchers found no statistically significant differences in anatomic and symptomatic issues among the two groups.

“This study is a paradigm shift for urogynecologists — it is practice changing,” Barber said. “For decades, surgeons have been instructing patients to avoid activity after reconstructive surgery, and we now know that is unnecessary.”

“The findings of this study are consistent with trials in other fields, like orthopedics and hernia surgery, which have shown that early activity doesn’t impede outcomes and may improve them in some circumstances,” Barber said.

Additional authors of the study include Michele O'Shea, Tracy Truong, Alaattin Erkanli and Nazema Siddiqui.

This study was funded by the E.C Hamblen Endowed Professorship fund of the Duke University School of Medicine.

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