What are the benefits of sacrocolpopexy? A woman living with the little known condition of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) has her life turned upside down. It affects her emotionally, physically, socially, sexually, and may even affect employment. There are several treatments to help improve the symptoms, including surgery known as sacrocolpopexy. .
What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
With pelvic organ prolapse, the muscles in the lower part of the pelvis become weakened, stretched, or torn, and pelvic organs can slip out of place and sag down. These organs include the uterus, cervix, bladder, urethra, intestines, and rectum. They have been held in place by pelvic floor muscles. When prolapse occurs, any of these organs can plunge into the vagina. Sometime they actually protrude outward.
Half of women ages 50 through 79 have pelvic organ prolapse.
What Are the Signs of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Women with POP may experience the following symptoms:
- A pressure or heaviness in their pelvis
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Leaking urine or incontinence
- Feeling like a ball is stuck in the vagina
- A bulge or lump coming from the vagina
- Lower back pain
- Frequent constipation
What Causes Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
The causes or risk factors of developing pelvic organ prolapse include the following:
- Having vaginal childbirth
- History of surgery on the pelvic organs
- Someone who is extremely active or who lifts heavily weighted things
- Frequent strains during bowel movements
- Having a chronic cough
- Being overweight
How Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treated?
There are several treatments available including removing the uterus (hysterectomy), pelvic floor exercises known as Kegel exercises, insertion of a pessary to support your organs, and lifestyle changes like losing weight can all help.
Another treatment is the sacrocolpopexy procedure.
What Is Sacrocolpopexy for Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
During this surgery your gynecologic surgeon will elevate the organs which have sagged down and secure them in place using mesh. Very small incisions are made in the lower abdomen making it a minimally invasive procedure.
This surgery can be performed using robotic-assisted tools. Small tools and a camera are inserted into the incision and the surgeon uses a robotic controller to perform the surgery.
This surgery takes approximately 2 to 4 hours to complete, and patients need about 6 to 8 weeks to recover.
Your surgeon may remove the uterus during surgery along with the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This will eliminate the possibility of cancer in any of these three organs.
What Are the Benefits of Sacrocolpopexy?
There are many benefits of choosing the sacrocolpopexy procedure for pelvic organ prolapse treatment.
- Symptom relief. Moving the pelvic organs back in place relieves some of the symptoms of POP like urinary incontinence, bulging, and pelvic pressure.
- There is a lower risk of complications.
- A shorter stay in the hospital, if any, as it can be an outpatient procedure.
- Faster recovery. Minimally invasive surgery speeds up recovery time.
- There is a 90% success rate.
Some Final Thoughts
In a study conducted by NIH, it was found that at 6 months post surgery 96% of the women tested had no recurrence of POP. Pelvic organ vaginal, urinary, and sexual function symptoms improved. In fact, sexually active women reported significant improvement in sexual function.