Learn why da Vinci® Surgery may be your best treatment option
Vaginal prolapse occurs when the network of muscles, ligaments and skin that hold the vagina in its correct anatomical position weaken. 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. About 200,000 women have prolapse surgery each year in the United States. Risk factors for prolapse include multiple vaginal deliveries, age, obesity, hysterectomy, collagen quality and smoking. One in nine women who undergo hysterectomy will experience vaginal prolapse and 10% of these women may need surgical repair of a major vaginal prolapse.
Typically, prolapse of the vagina and uterus gradually worsens over time and can only be fully corrected with surgery. The procedure to correct prolapse is called sacrocolpopexy. Sacrocolpoexy is considered the most effective way to correct vaginal prolapse and resolve symptoms. In this procedure, surgical mesh is used to hold the vagina in its correct anatomical position. The mesh remains in place permanently. 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 six- to 12-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 five- to six-day hospital stay. Another approach, laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy, offers a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. But 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.
If your doctor recommends sacrocolpopexy, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive da Vinci Surgery. This procedure uses a stateof- 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. For most women, da Vinci Surgery offers numerous potential benefits over a traditional open approach to sacrocolpopexy:
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is specific to each patient and each procedure.