Skip to main content


Log in

Incidence and lifetime risk of pelvic organ prolapse surgery in Denmark from 1977 to 2009

  • Original Article
  • Published:
International Urogynecology Journal Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Introduction and hypothesis

The purpose of the study was to describe the incidence of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) surgeries in Denmark during the last 30 years, age distribution over time, and the lifetime risk of undergoing POP surgery.


We carried out a population-based registry study. The setting was the Danish National Patient Registry. The sample consisted of Danish women of all ages undergoing prolapse surgery during the period 1977–2009. Data were retrieved from the Danish National Patient Registry. Prolapse surgery included surgery for any type of genital prolapse including hysterectomy due to prolapse. The main outcome measures were incidence of POP, age distribution over time, and lifetime risk of undergoing POP surgery.


Surgical interventions for POP decreased by 47 % from 1977 (288 procedures/100,000 women) to 1999 (153 procedures/100,000 women). Subsequently, they increased to 75 % of the original incidence rate; in 2008, the incidence of total POP procedures was 201 out of 100,000 women and the incidence of women undergoing POP surgery was 139 out of 100,000 women. During the study period, the age-specific incidence of POP surgeries increased for women over the age of 65–69 years and decreased for women below that age. In 2008, the lifetime risk for an 80-year-old woman of undergoing at least one POP surgery was 18.7 %.


The incidence of POP surgery varied up to 50 % during the study period. The age distribution changed so that more elderly and less young women had surgery in 2008 compared with 1978. Finally, we found that the lifetime risk of undergoing POP surgery for an 80-year-old was 26.9 % in 1978, 20.5 % in 1988, 17.2 % in 1998, and 18.7 % in 2008.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Nygaard I, Bradley C, Brandt D (2004) Pelvic organ prolapse in older women; prevalence and risk factors. Obstet Gynecol 104:489–497

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Hendrix SL, Clark A, Nygaard I, Aragaki A, Barnabei V, McTierman A (2002) Pelvic organ prolapse in the women’s health initiative: gravity and gravidity. Am J Obstet Gynecol 186:1160–1166

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Samuelsson EC, Victor FTA, Tibblin G, Svardsudd KF (1999) Signs and genital prolapse in a Swedish population of women 20 to 59 years of age and possible related factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol 180(2 Pt I):299–305

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Swift S, Woodman P, O’Boyle A, Kahn M, Valley M, Bland D, Wang W, Schaffer J (2005) Pelvic organ support study (POSST): the distribution, clinical definition, and epidemiologic condition of pelvic organ support defects. Am J Obstet Gynecol 192(3):795–806

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Tegerstedt G, Maehle-Schmidt M, Nyren O, Hammarström M (2005) Prevalence of symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse in a Swedish population. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 16(6):497–503

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Handa VL, Garrett E, Hendrix S, Gold E, Robbins J (2005) Progression and remission of pelvic organ prolapse: a longitudinal study of menopausal women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 190(1):27–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Olsen AL, Smith VJ, Berström JO, Colling JC, Clark AL (1997) Epidemiology of surgically managed pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. Obstet Gynecol 89(4):501–506

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Fialkow MF, Newton KM, Lentz GM, Weiss NS (2008) Lifetime risk of surgical management for pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence. Int Urogynecol J 19:437–440

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Smith FJ, Holman CDJ, Moorin RE, Tsokos N (2010) Lifetime risk of undergoing surgery for pelvic organ prolapse. Obstet Gynecol 116:1096–1100

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Shah AD, Kohli N, Rajan SS, Hoyte L (2008) The age distribution, rates and types of surgery for pelvic organ prolapse in the USA. Int Urogynecol J 19:421–428

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ottesen M (2009) Validitet af kodning og indberetning ved vaginal prolapskirurgi [Validity of coding and registration of vaginal prolapse surgery.]. Ugeskr Laeger 171:404–408

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Gimbel H, Settnes A, Tabor A (2001) Hysterectomy on benign indication in Denmark 1988–1998. A register based trend analysis. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 80:267–272

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Lykke R, Blaakaer J, Ottesen B, Gimbel H (2013) Hysterectomy in Denmark 1977–2009: changes in rates, indications, and hospitalization. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 171:333–338

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 


  15. Maher C, Feiner B, Baessler K, Glazener CMA (2007) Surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse in women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4):CD004014

  16. Nielsen SL, Daugbjerg S, Gimbel H, Settnes A, the steering committee of the Danish hysterectomy database (2011) Use of vaginal hysterectomy in Denmark: variation in rates, indications and patient characteristics. Acta Scand Obstet Gynecol 90:978–984

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Nieboer TE, Johnson N, Barlow D, Lethaby A, Tavander E, Curr E, Garry R et al (2009) Surgical approach to hysterectomy for benign gynecological disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3):CD003677

  18. Abdel-fattah M, Familusi A, Fielding S, et al (2011). Primary and repeat surgical treatment for female pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in parous women in the UK: a register linkage study. BMJ Open 1:e000206. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000206x

Download references


Thanks to the Danish Hysterectomy and Hysteroscopy Group for finding the data.

Conflicts of interest


Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ea Løwenstein.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Løwenstein, E., Ottesen, B. & Gimbel, H. Incidence and lifetime risk of pelvic organ prolapse surgery in Denmark from 1977 to 2009. Int Urogynecol J 26, 49–55 (2015).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: