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Return to work following pelvic reconstructive surgery: secondary analysis of Operations and Pelvic Muscle Training in the Management of Apical Support Loss trial

      Background

      Patients’ return to work is an important part of surgical counseling and quality of life.

      Objective

      This study aimed to evaluate the pattern of patients’ return to work and loss of productivity after pelvic reconstructive surgery.

      Study Design

      This was a secondary analysis of the randomized controlled trial Operations and Pelvic Muscle Training in the Management of Apical Support Loss. The primary outcome was return to work defined by the answer to “How many calendar weeks or workdays did you not go to work after the original prolapse surgery?” Furthermore, loss of productivity included hours and days per week worked and discontinuation of paid work because of urogynecologic conditions. Moreover, predictors affecting the timing of return to work and loss of productivity were assessed.

      Results

      Here, 180 patients (49%) were working before surgery. Of these patients, half returned to work 35 days after surgery, with 21 (13%) returning to work immediately after surgery and 43 (27%) returning to work within ≤2 weeks. The number of days missed did not differ between patients who underwent sacrospinous ligament fixation and those who underwent uterosacral ligament suspension (P=.23). At 3 months, 15 patients (9%) who were working before surgery had stopped working, but those who continued to work had similar hours per week as before surgery (36±12 vs 35±13; P=.48). Of note, 17 patients (11%) reported being less productive, on average working at 60% effectiveness. Most patients (96%) reported not missing any hours of household chores by 3 months after surgery. Patients who returned to work within 6 weeks had a higher rate of retreatment with either pessary or surgery within 2 years (5 of 85 [6.8%] vs 0 of 76 [0%]; P=.03). Those who returned to work within 2 weeks worked fewer hours before surgery (30±15 vs 36±12; P=.013), were less likely to have private insurance (77% vs 91%; P=.03), and had a higher rate of retreatment (3 of 30 [13%] vs 2 of 131 [1.7%]; P=.007). There was no difference in bulge symptoms and anatomic failure based on return to work.

      Conclusion

      Most patients returned to work within 35 days after surgery. Working less than full time and not having private insurance were predictors of earlier return to work.

      Key words

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