Pre- and postoperative evaluation of pelvic floor muscle function in POP patients using surface electromyography and digital palpation


  • Heinz Koelbl led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.
  • X. L. Chen and Y. Gong contributed equally to this work.
  • Conflict of interest: None.
  • Authors' contribution: X.L. Chen: Protocol writing, project development, data analysis; Y. Gong: Project development, data collection, manuscript writing and revision; D. Wu: Project development; X.C. Li: Project development; H.F. Li: Project development; X.W. Tong: Project development; W.W. Cheng: project development, data analysis and collection.



The study aims to evaluate the pelvic floor muscle (PFM) function in patients with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) pre- and postoperatively using digital palpation and surface electromyography.


In this non-randomized prospective study, two groups of patients were recruited for assessment. The surgical group included 74 POP patients receiving the modified pelvic reconstructive surgery and the control group consisted of 30 non-POP patients. One physiotherapist conducted the digital palpation and SEMG evaluation. The scale of PFM strength, the duration and voltage of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) as well as numbers and voltage of short, fast contractions (SFC) by SEMG were documented and compared in both groups. For statistical analysis, t-test, Mann–Whitney U test and Wilcoxon test were used with a significant level 0.05.


A total of 68 POP patients finished the two follow-ups. Sixty-four patients were objectively cured with a 94.1% cure rate. Mesh erosions happened in three patients (4.8%). By digital palpation, the PFM strength increased significantly in POP patients after surgery but still lower than non-POP patients (P < 0.001). By SEMG, the electrical activity of PFM increased significantly in the surgical group postoperatively (P 0.001).


The PFM function was improved 3 months after the modified pelvic reconstructive surgery in POP patients based on digital palpation and SEMG. The evaluation of PFM function should be included in the overall assessment of pelvic reconstructive surgeries. Neurourol. Urodynam. 33:403–407, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.