Methods for the defining mechanisms of anterior vaginal wall descent (DEMAND) study

Introduction and hypothesis: The protocol and analysis methods for the Defining Mechanisms of Anterior Vaginal Wall Descent (DEMAND) study are presented. DEMAND was designed to identify mechanisms and contributors of prolapse recurrence after two transvaginal apical suspension procedures for uterovaginal prolapse.

Methods: DEMAND is a supplementary cohort study of a clinical trial in which women with uterovaginal prolapse randomized to (1) vaginal hysterectomy with uterosacral ligament suspension or (2) vaginal mesh hysteropexy underwent pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 30-42 months post-surgery. Standardized protocols have been developed to systematize MRI examinations across multiple sites and to improve reliability of MRI measurements. Anatomical failure, based on MRI, is defined as prolapse beyond the hymen. Anatomic measures from co-registered rest, maximal strain, and post-strain rest (recovery) sequences are obtained from the "true mid-sagittal" plane defined by a 3D pelvic coordinate system. The primary outcome is the mechanism of failure (apical descent versus anterior vaginal wall elongation). Secondary outcomes include displacement of the vaginal apex and perineal body and elongation of the anterior wall, posterior wall, perimeter, and introitus of the vagina between (1) rest and strain and (2) rest and recovery.

Results: Recruitment and MRI trials of 94 participants were completed by May 2018.

Conclusions: Methods papers which detail studies designed to evaluate anatomic outcomes of prolapse surgeries are few. We describe a systematic, standardized approach to define and quantitatively assess mechanisms of anatomic failure following prolapse repair. This study will provide a better understanding of how apical prolapse repairs fail anatomically.


Moalli PA, Bowen ST, Abramowitch SD, Lockhart ME, Ham M, Hahn M, Weidner AC, Richter HE, Rardin CR, Komesu YM, Harvie HS, Ridgeway BM, Mazloomdoost D, Shaffer A, Gantz MG; NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network. Methods for the defining mechanisms of anterior vaginal wall descent (DEMAND) study. Int Urogynecol J. 2021 Apr;32(4):809-818. doi: 10.1007/s00192-020-04511-1. Epub 2020 Sep 1. PMID: 32870340; PMCID: PMC7917148.