BACKGROUND: We designed this trial to assess whether the addition of standardized Burch colposuspension to abdominal sacrocolpopexy for the treatment of pelvic-organ prolapse decreases postoperative stress urinary incontinence in women without preoperative symptoms of stress incontinence. METHODS: Women who did not report symptoms of stress incontinence and who chose to undergo sacrocolpopexy to treat prolapse were randomly assigned to concomitant Burch colposuspension or to no Burch colposuspension (control) and were evaluated in a blinded fashion three months after the surgery. The primary outcomes included measures of stress incontinence (symptoms, stress testing, or treatment) and measures of urge symptoms. Enrollment was stopped after the first interim analysis because of a significantly lower frequency of stress incontinence in the group that underwent the Burch colposuspension. RESULTS: Of 322 women who underwent randomization, 157 were assigned to Burch colposuspension and 165 to the control group. Three months after surgery, 23.8 percent of the women in the Burch group and 44.1 percent of the controls met one or more of the criteria for stress incontinence (P<0.001). There was no significant difference between the Burch group and the control group in the frequency of urge incontinence (32.7 percent vs. 38.4 percent, P = 0.48). After surgery, women in the control group were more likely to report bothersome symptoms of stress incontinence than those in the Burch group who had stress incontinence (24.5 percent vs. 6.1 percent, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In women without stress incontinence who are undergoing abdominal sacrocolpopexy for prolapse, Burch colposuspension significantly reduced postoperative symptoms of stress incontinence without increasing other lower urinary tract symptoms. Copyright © 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.