Women's Expectations of Prolapse Surgery

A Retrospective Qualitative Study

Published in: Neurourology and Urodynamics, 2013

by Kathryn Baskayne, Janet Willars, Emma Pitchforth, Douglas G. Tincello

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AIMS: To explore the expectations of prolapse surgery held by women before that surgery and to examine reasons why such expectations were met, or not met. METHODS: Qualitative study using one-to-one interviews with women who had undergone prolapse surgery in a large UK teaching hospital. Interviews were conducted by a third party, trained interviewer using a piloted interview guide, but women were encouraged to speak freely. Transcripts were analyzed based on the constant comparative method and interviews continued until no new themes emerged. RESULTS: Fifty-two women were contacted; 32 took part. Twenty-eight women's interviews were used for analysis, after pilot interviews with four women. Median age was 58 (32–86), 19 were Caucasian, nine of South Indian ethnicity. Anticipated benefits of surgery included global themes of cure without specific definitions, focusing on physical symptoms. A few women anticipated psychological benefit. Most women had expectations of a permanent cure. After surgery, most women considered their surgery a success, for physical symptom improvement. Some women had modified their prior expectations (downwards) and success was interpreted in this light. Provision of information about recovery and symptom resolution was felt to be inadequate by the majority. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, resolution of physical symptoms was the prevalent expectation, along with restoration of "normality." Normality was often redefined during recovery, indicating the complexity of assessing fulfillment of expectations, and that specific goal-setting may be inadequate. A chronic illness framework for prolapse may be helpful. Information exchange, especially in the post-operative period can be improved.

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