Urogynecology & Robotic Surgery
When medication and noninvasive procedures are unable to relieve symptoms, surgery remains the accepted and most effective treatment for certain urogynecologic conditions called pelvic floor disorders. With the latest minimally invasive treatments, including robotic surgery, our physicians restore quality-of-life to women with pelvic floor disorders who suffer from a range of uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms.
For a referral to a skilled urogynecologist at Suburban Hospital, call 1-855-JHM-3939.
Pelvic Floor Disorders: Vaginal Vault Prolapse, Uterine Prolapse
Vaginal vault prolapse occurs when the network of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that holds the vagina in its correct anatomical position weakens. This causes the vagina to prolapse (slip or fall) from its normal position. Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, reducing support for the uterus. The uterus then slips or falls into the vaginal canal. Prolapse can cause the following symptoms: a feeling of heaviness or pulling in your pelvis, tissue protruding from your vagina, painful intercourse, pelvic pain and difficulties with urination and bowel movements.
Risk factors for pelvic floor disorders include multiple vaginal deliveries, age, obesity, hysterectomy, collagen quality and smoking. Typically, prolapse of the vagina and uterus gradually worsens over time and can only be fully corrected with surgery. Eleven percent of women in the United States — one in nine — will ultimately have surgery for some form of pelvic floor disorder. The gold standard procedure to correct prolapse of the uterus or vaginal vault is called sacrocolpopexy.
Sacrocolpopexy is considered the most effective way to correct vaginal vault and uterine prolapse and resolve symptoms. In this procedure, permanent surgical mesh is used to hold the vagina in its correct anatomical position. Sacrocolpopexy can also be performed following a hysterectomy to treat uterine prolapse and provide long-term support of the vagina.
Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as an open surgery. A 6-inch horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen in order to manually access the pelvic organs, including the uterus. While the success rate of open abdominal sacrocolpopexy is high, recovery time can be long, including a three-day hospital stay. Another approach, laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy, offers a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. This approach is generally considered to be technically challenging due to the extensive suturing and dissection required, coupled with the limitations of traditional laparoscopic technology.
Robotic-assisted sacrocolpopexy is a modification of the laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy technique. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art robotic surgical system. It is 100% physician-controlled and designed to allow your surgeon to perform the most effective minimally invasive surgery possible through just a few tiny incisions. Most patients will return home the next day.
For most women, this surgery offers numerous potential benefits over a traditional open approach to sacrocolpopexy:
- Significantly less pain
- Less blood loss and need for blood transfusions
- Less scarring
- Shorter hospital stay
- Shorter recovery