Vaginal repair surgery at HonorHealth may be a consideration if you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse involves a loss of support of pelvic structures, which can include the uterus, bladder and bowel.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs often with the natural aging process, but may also be accelerated due to factors including pregnancy, childbirth, chronic cough, sexual trauma or simply genetics. If symptoms are severe and are disrupting your life, surgery may be the best option.
In most cases, surgery should only be considered if you’re done having children to avoid the risk of the prolapse recurring. Vaginal repair surgery is typically reconstructive in nature with the goal of repairing the pelvic floor to hold any organs that have prolapsed (dropped) in place. This is typically done using minimally invasive techniques that allow for less pain and a quicker recovery, but there are times when an abdominal surgery is necessary. Also, it may be necessary to remove an organ, typically the uterus.
Depending on your symptoms and the cause, options include these procedures:
- Hysterectomy: Removes the uterus by vaginal, laparoscopic or robotic assisted laparoscopic techniques. It may also be removed abdominally (open surgery).
- Cystocele repair (bladder lift): Repairs the support structures between your vagina and bladder and restores the bladder to its normal position. The procedure is performed vaginally without abdominal incisions.
- Sacrospinous ligament suspension: Attaches the top of your vagina to the sacrospinous ligaments using sutures. The procedure is performed vaginally.
- Sacral colpopexy: Attaches the top of the vagina to a strong ligament in the backbone using straps of graft material. This procedure usually is done laparoscopically, typically using robotics, or it be done through an open incision.
- Rectocele repair: Repairs the support structures between your vagina and rectum, restoring the rectum to its normal downward position. The procedure is performed vaginally without abdominal incisions.
- Uterosacral vaginal vault suspension: Attaches the top of your vagina to the ligaments that go to the sacral (back) bone. This procedure can be done vaginally, laparoscopically or robotically.
- Colpocleisis: Partial or complete closure of your vagina to correct a protruding vaginal bulge. This procedure is reserved for patients who do not wish to continue having sexual intercourse.
Recovery times vary depending on the surgery. You’ll need to avoid vigorous exercise, lifting and straining for six to eight weeks, and you’ll probably need to take a few weeks off work.