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Urogynecology: Surgical Treatment Options for Vaginal Prolapse

In Brief

  • If you or someone you love is suffering from vaginal prolapse, and lifestyle changes and conservative treatment measures have failed to provide relief from its symptoms, then surgical treatment may be the answer.
  • Pelvic floor disorders, including vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence, affect close to 50 percent of women at some point in their lifetime, and one in eight women undergo surgical treatment for the disorder.
  • To treat vaginal prolapse, surgery can be done vaginally and abdominally with minimally invasive techniques.
  • Women can choose to either have a hysterectomy or a uterine suspension. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from vaginal prolapse, and lifestyle changes and conservative treatment measures have failed to provide relief from its symptoms, then surgical treatment may be the answer.

“When patients come into my office because of issues such as urinary retention (difficulty or being unable to urinate) or recurrent urinary tract infections due to vaginal prolapse, I may strongly recommend surgical treatment,” says Laurie Kane, M.D., Crozer-Keystone urogynecologist. “If they are not finding any symptom relief from physical therapy, or other conservative measures, surgery may also be necessary.”

Vaginal prolapse is a condition in which pelvic organs drop to or through the vaginal opening. Pelvic floor disorders, including vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence, affect close to 50 percent of women at some point in their lifetime, and one in eight women undergo surgical treatment for the disorder. These problems may occur from changes associated with childbirth, aging or medical illness.

“To treat vaginal prolapse, surgery can be done vaginally and abdominally with minimally invasive techniques,” says Jose Maceda, M.D., chief of the Division of Urogynecology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Women can choose to either have a hysterectomy or a uterine suspension.”

A hysterectomy can be done vaginally or abdominally. The procedure consists of removing the uterus, which means that pregnancy would no longer be a possibility.

Uterine suspension is a procedure that involves putting the uterus back into its normal position. This can be done by reattaching the pelvic ligaments to the lower part of the uterus to hold it in place. Uterine suspension and hysterectomies can be done with minimally invasive and laparoscopic procedures that can decrease post-operative pain and can make for a faster recovery. The procedures can also be done using the da Vinci® Surgical System.

“Using the da Vinci® surgical technique is a great option for those suffering from vaginal prolapse,” Maceda adds. “da Vinci® is a robotically assisted laparoscopic surgery that can speed up and simplify the technically difficult aspects of vaginal prolapse surgery. It also allows patients to return to their normal activities sooner because the incision is quite smaller than a traditional surgical incision.”

A recent Mayo Clinic study of 30 women who had robot-assisted laparoscopic repair concluded that this method has the following advantages over traditional open surgical repair: 

  • Significantly less pain
  • Minimal blood loss and need for transfusion
  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
  • Smaller incisions for minimal scarring
  • Better outcomes and patient satisfaction, in many cases

Da Vinci® and other minimally invasive surgical procedures may not be right for every patient. Together with their physician, patients can determine what the right treatment option will be.

For more information about Delaware Valley Urogynecology, or to request an appointment with Maceda or Kane, call (610) 338-1810 or visit http://ckpelvicfloormedicine.crozer.org. The practice is accepting new patients and can offer prompt appointments at their locations in Drexel Hill, Springfield, Upland and Glen Mills.

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