All or nothing? A second look at partial levator avulsion

H. P. Dietz, K. L. Shek, G. K. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To define associations between partial levator trauma and symptoms and signs of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Methods: This was a retrospective study of 3484 women attending a tertiary urogynecology unit for symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction between January 2012 and February 2020. All women underwent a standardized interview, clinical pelvic organ prolapse quantification (POP-Q) examination and tomographic ultrasound imaging of the pelvic floor. Women with full levator avulsion were excluded from analysis. Partial levator avulsion was quantified using the tomographic trauma score (TTS), in which slices 3–8 are scored bilaterally for abnormal insertions. Binomial multiple logistic regression was analyzed independently for the outcome variables prolapse symptoms, symptom bother and objective prolapse on clinical examination and imaging, with age and body mass index as covariates. Two continuous outcome variables, prolapse bother score and hiatal area on Valsalva, were analyzed using multiple linear regression. Results: Of the 3484 women, ultrasound data were missing or incomplete in 164 due to lack of equipment, clerical error and/or inadequate image quality. Full levator avulsion was diagnosed in 807 women, leaving 2513 for analysis. TTS ranged from 0–10, with a median of 0. Partial trauma (TTS > 0) was observed in 667/2513 (26.5%) women. All subjective and objective measures of POP were associated significantly with TTS, most strongly for cystocele. Associations were broadly linear and similar for all slice locations but disappeared after accounting for hiatal area on Valsalva. Conclusion: Partial avulsion is associated with POP and prolapse symptoms. This association was strongest for cystocele, both on POP-Q and ultrasound imaging. The effect of partial avulsion on POP and prolapse symptoms is explained fully by its effect on hiatal area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-697
Number of pages5
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • avulsion
  • birth trauma
  • levator ani
  • pelvic floor ultrasound
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • tomographic ultrasound
  • translabial ultrasound


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