Our Urogynecologic Research

Vatche Minassian, MD, MPH

  • Symptomatic Uterine Prolapse – Leading a group of researchers to identify the optimum surgical approach to manage women with symptomatic uterine prolapse. In this randomized controlled trial, investigators from the Department of OB/GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will compare two commonly performed surgical procedures for prolapse. The goal of the research is to recruit 150 women and follow them for up to two years post-operatively. The main outcome of the study is to determine which of the two surgeries has a better outcome both subjectively and objectively. These two surgeries include:
    • The vaginal group – vaginal hysterectomy and high uterosacral colposuspension
    • The laparoscopic group – laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy with sacrocervicopexy
      The results from this study will help to better counsel patients with similar conditions regarding their surgical choices in the future.
  • Urinary Incontinence – Working with researchers from the Channing Laboratory of Brigham and Women’s Hospital to understand the natural history of urinary incontinence in women. To achieve their goal, Dr Minassian and his collaborators are using data from two large cohorts including Nurses Health Study (NHS) and Nurses Health Study II (NHS II). The original NHS was initiated in 1976 when over 120,000 female nurses aged 30 to 55 years responded to a mailed questionnaire about their medical history and lifestyle. The NHS II was initiated in 1989 when over 110,000 female nurses aged 25 to 42 years completed and returned a similar questionnaire. These nurses have been followed every two years. Questions about urinary incontinence were included on the questionnaires beginning in 2000. Understanding the natural history of urinary incontinence will allow Dr Minassian and other researchers to develop prevention modalities that limit the onset and progression of disease over time.
  • Urinary Incontinence Subtypes – Dr. Minassian continues to collaborate with his colleagues on his NIH RO1-funded research work that he obtained while at Geisinger in Danville, PA. This research utilizes data obtained from the Bladder Health Survey, a 6-monthly questionnaire administered to over 7,000 women over the age of 40 from the primary care patient population served by the Geisinger Clinic in rural Pennsylvania. The goal of this research to understand the natural history of urinary incontinence subtypes. In particular, Dr Minassian and his research collaborators are trying to decipher the paradox of why the observed prevalence of mixed (co-existing stress and urgency) urinary incontinence is much higher than expected. Gaining an in-depth knowledge of the epidemiology of stress, urgency and mixed urinary incontinence will lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the different UI subtypes. This, in turn, will lead to the development of better treatment modalities.


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