Pelvic Floor Reconstruction Surgery
Pelvic floor reconstruction at a glance
- Pelvic floor reconstruction is a collection of procedures and surgeries that treats pelvic organ prolapse, which is when pelvic organs drop (prolapse) out of position.
- The method of pelvic floor reconstruction will vary depending on which organ (bladder, uterus, vagina or rectum) dropped.
- Robotic surgery methods of pelvic floor reconstruction are favorable because they are less invasive, reduce the chance of side effects and allow for a speedier recovery.
- Pelvic floor reconstruction restores a woman’s quality of life that was affected by prolapse, which can cause such conditions as incontinence, a protruding bulge where the prolapse has occurred, and sexual difficulties.
- Risks of pelvic floor reconstruction surgery include back pain and constipation in the days following surgery.
What is pelvic floor reconstruction?
Pelvic floor reconstruction is a collection of procedures and surgeries that treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition that occurs when the pelvic muscles weaken and cause organs within the pelvis region to drop, or prolapse, out of their original position. Although rarely life-threatening, POP can be an annoying condition that hampers a woman’s quality of life and hinders normal activities. Women who experience POP usually have pelvic pain or discomfort, sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence (unintended urine leakage).
The pelvic floor includes muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that support and hold the bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum in place. Life events, such as pregnancy and surgery, may weaken the pelvic floor and cause POP. Pelvic organ prolapse causes a bulge in the pelvic region that can range in severity of size and noticeability.
Pacific Urology specializes in robotic surgeries as a treatment for pelvic floor reconstruction.
Why do pelvic floor reconstruction surgery?
Pelvic floor reconstruction has a high success rate, meaning that the surgery will restore all normal pelvic anatomy. In the majority of cases, sexual, bladder and bowel systems also regain complete function.
Robotic surgeries for pelvic reconstruction are highly beneficial, as most women report less pain, lose less blood and require shorter hospital stays than in more traditional open surgeries. Robotic surgery also causes less scarring and allows a woman to resume her normal activities at a faster rate.
Pelvic floor reconstruction corrects the prolapse and allows a woman to regain normal activities and function that were not possible before corrective surgery. Pelvic floor reconstruction surgeries will vary depending on which organ is being treated. Some common types of prolapse and surgical treatment include:
- Vaginal prolapse. If a woman’s upper vagina has prolapsed, also known as a vaginal vault prolapse, the surgeon may perform a sacrocolpopexy. This surgery repairs and repositions the vaginal tissue. If a woman’s vagina prolapses and she previously had a hysterectomy to remove her uterus, a surgeon may perform a acrocolpopexy, which is a similar surgery adapted to a woman who does not have a uterus.
- Posterior prolapse. When the rectum has dropped, a surgeon tightens the tissue between the vagina and rectum while also removing excess tissue. This surgery is typically a traditional open surgery using an open incision.
- Anterior prolapse. Also known as a cystocle, this form of prolapse affects the bladder. During a reconstructive surgery, the surgeon nudges the bladder back up into the pelvic region and secures the tissue between the vagina and bladder to ensure the bladder remains in its intended place.
- Uterine prolapse. This occurs when the entire uterus drops down through the vaginal wall. For women who don’t plan to have children, a surgeon will likely recommend a hysterectomy to remove the uterus entirely.
Risks & side effects of pelvic floor reconstruction surgery
Pelvic floor reconstruction surgeries, like any form of surgery, come with some inherent risks. These include, but are not limited to, an adverse reaction to anesthesia, excessive blood loss, unintended damage to nearby organs and infection.
Other side effects specific to pelvic floor reconstruction surgery include constipation, back pain (common after the first two to four weeks following surgery) and painful defecation, which may follow the surgery for about a week. The surgeon will make a recommendation on treatment type based on the patient’s case.