International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 12, pp 2127–2133 | Cite as

A pilot study on surgical reduction of the levator hiatus—the puborectalis sling

  • Vivien WongEmail author
  • Ka Lai Shek
  • Andrew Korda
  • Chris Benness
  • John Pardey
  • Hans Peter Dietz
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

Female pelvic organ prolapse recurrence has been shown to be associated with levator hiatal distensibility. Reducing hiatal size surgically may reduce recurrence risk. This study aims to demonstrate a novel surgical procedure, the puborectalis sling (PR sling), designed to reduce the levator hiatal area, and to assess the medium-term safety and efficacy of this procedure.


One hundred fifteen women undergoing prolapse repair with a pre-operative hiatal area on Valsalva of ≥ 35 cm2 were recruited into this phase 1 prospective multicentre pilot study. All underwent a PR sling procedure after completion of standard repairs. Primary outcome was levator hiatal area measured on ultrasound.


One hundred ten patients were evaluated at least 3 months post-operatively. At 2.5 years average follow-up, there was an average of 12 cm2 (range 6–16 cm2) reduction in hiatal area from a mean pre-operative hiatal area of 43.9 (35–63) cm2. Thirty per cent (28/93) were symptomatic of prolapse, 66% (61/93) had clinical prolapse recurrence whilst 49% (46/93) had sonographic recurrence. Three patients required a return to theatre; one case of infection resulted in mesh removal, one had severe obstructed defecation requiring sling loosening and another had buttock pain with faecal impaction that resolved after manual disimpaction. There were no long-term sequelae.


The levator hiatal area can be reduced surgically, with almost 30% reduction in area seen in this pilot study. The reduction was significant and sustained up to 2 years with no major long-term complications.


Pelvic organ prolapse Levator hiatal area 3D pelvic floor ultrasound Prolapse recurrence Mesh 



Genital hiatus


Perineal body


Pelvic organ prolapse


Pelvic organ prolapse quantification




Transobturator Post-anal sling


United States of America


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

HP Dietz and KL Shek have received unrestricted educational grants from GE. No other conflicts of interest to declare by other authors.


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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nepean Clinical SchoolUniversity of SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.Nepean HospitalUniversity of SydneyPenrithAustralia
  3. 3.Liverpool Clinical SchoolWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Royal Prince Alfred HospitalCamperdownAustralia
  5. 5.Nepean Private HospitalPenrithAustralia

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