Background: Pelvic organ prolapse is a common health problem in women and has a negative influence on quality of life. A major cause of pelvic organ prolapse is levator injury. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the association of mediolateral episiotomy with levator injury (levator avulsion, ballooning, or combined) and urogynecological complaints. Study Design: A prospective observational cohort study was performed in 204 primiparous women with a spontaneous vaginal delivery without anal sphincter tear in a general hospital between 2012 and 2015. One hundred three of these women had had a mediolateral episiotomy. Validated urogynecological questionnaires and transperineal 3-dimensional/4-dimensional ultrasound were completed after delivery. Outcome measures were levator avulsion, ballooning (hiatal area of more than 25 cm2), and urogynecological questionnaire scores. Statistical analysis was performed using univariate and multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: The median time at investigation after vaginal delivery was 13 months (range 6–33). Levator injury (avulsion, ballooning, or combined) was identified in 35 of the 103 women who had undergone mediolateral episiotomy (40.0%) and 33 of the 101 women without episiotomy (32.7%) (P = .69). No differences were found in the incidence of levator avulsion 27 (26.7%) vs 23 (22.8%) (P = .53) or in levator ballooning (20 [19.4%] vs 23 [22.8%] (P = .58) between both groups. There was an association between longer duration of the second stage of labor and the incidence of levator avulsion (odds ratio, 1.24 [95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.52]). Nonocciput anterior fetal position increased the risk of levator ballooning and levator injury (odds ratio, 10.19 [95% confidence interval, 1.89–54.91] and odds ratio, 12.16 [95% confidence interval, 1.41–104.38], respectively). No differences in urogynecological complaints were found. Conclusion: Mediolateral episiotomy is not associated with the occurrence of levator injury or urogynecological complaints in women with a spontaneous vaginal delivery who did not obtain an anal sphincter injury. Levator injury was associated with a prolonged second stage of labor and a nonocciput anterior fetal position.

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American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Speksnijder, L., Oom, D., van Bavel, J., Steegers, E., & Steensma, A. (2018). Association of levator injury and urogynecological complaints in women after their first vaginal birth with and without mediolateral episiotomy. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.09.025