Objective. Retrospectively to describe the recommended convalescence according to patients who had undergone vaginal prolapse surgery in 1996–98, and prospectively to describe the need for and limiting factors for convalescence after vaginal prolapse surgery in 1999–2000 at a Danish University Hospital.
Methods. The retrospective study included a validated, postal, questionnaire and review of patient files. In the prospective study, we followed consecutive women after vaginal surgery in a fast-track setting using a multimodal rehabilitation model with well-defined recommendations for the convalescence period.
Results. In the retrospective study, 188 women (79%) with a median age of 66 years (range, 30–88) answered the questionnaire. They had been recommended a convalescence of median 6 weeks (range, 1–12) for most activities. The subjective recurrence rate was 22% within median 6 months (range, 0–24) after first-time prolapse surgery. In the prospective study, there were 41 consecutive women with a median age of 69 years (range, 44–88). Convalescence was median <1 week for most non-strenuous activities, <2 weeks for light work and <4 weeks for sexual intercourse, sports and work with lifts exceeding 10 kg. Limiting factors were fatigue and pain. The 1-year subjective recurrence rate was 17%.
Conclusion. Traditionally, recommended convalescence has been median 6 weeks after vaginal prolapse surgery. Convalescence has been shortened to 1–3 weeks with a multimodal rehabilitation model with revised, non-restrictive recommendations. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the impact of different convalescence recommendations on the recurrence of prolapse.