Prolapse, or falling, of any pelvic floor organ (uterus, bladder, vagina or rectum) can occur when the support structures in a woman’s body weaken or stretch. This results in bulging, sagging, pressure or discomfort. Prolapse is sometimes called a “dropped bladder” or “dropped uterus”. As the prolapsed gets worse, some women complain of:
- A bulging, pressure or heavy sensation in the vagina
- The feeling that they are “sitting on ball”
- Not being able to have a bowel movement without placing their fingers into the vagina
- Difficulty starting to urinate, a weak or spraying stream of urine
- The need to lift up the bulging vagina or uterus to start urination
- Discomfort, difficulty or urine leakage during sex
These conditions are very common; approximately 200,000 surgeries per year are performed in the U.S. to correct them, and more than 10% of all women will likely undergo this type of surgery at some point in their lifetime. There are many different causes, including pregnancy and childbirth, genetics and connective tissue types, as well as diseases, surgeries or radiation treatment.
Treatment options include pelvic floor muscle exercises (called Kegels), devices called pessaries that are worn in the vagina to give mechanical support, or surgery. There are different kinds of surgery that are effective treatments for prolapsed. Sacrocolpopexy is one kind of prolapsed repair, considered by many surgeons to offer the best results. It involves restoring the support of the vagina and nearby organs by using surgical mesh.
Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as open surgery through a six to 12-inch incision or cut on the stomach. Women & Infants offers many women the option of having the procedure done with the da Vinci® surgical system. This system gives the surgeon a better picture, using a three-dimensional camera, and increased dexterity through the special robotic instruments, all done through a series of incisions that are less than half an inch long. This allows a shorter hospitalization, less postoperative discomfort, and a quicker recovery.
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