More than 120,000 women have surgery for uterine and vaginal vault prolapse each year in the United States. Prolapse (or falling) of any pelvic floor organs (vagina, uterus, bladder or rectum) occurs when the connective tissues or muscles in the body cavity are weak and can not hold the pelvis in its natural position.
The weakening of connective tissues accelerates with age, after childbirth, with weight gain and strenuous physical labor. Women with pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence, vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and/or having a bowel movement.
Women with moderate to severe uterine or vaginal vault prolapse can experience prolapse through their vagina (externally), as shown in the diagrams below. The Treatment: da Vinci Surgery for Uterine or Vaginal Vault
Sacrocolpopexy is a procedure to surgically correct vaginal vault prolapse where mesh is used to hold the vagina in the correct anatomical position. This procedure can also be performed following a hysterectomy to treat uterine prolapse to provide long-term support of the vagina. Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as an open surgery. A 15-30 cm horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen in order to manually access the inter-abdominal organs, including the uterus.
If your doctor recommends sacrocolpopexy, you may be a candidate for a new surgical procedure called da Vinci Sacrocolpopexy. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon perform a minimally invasive surgery through small incisions.
Benefits of da Vinci Robot-Assisted Gynecologic Surgery
Traditional open gynecologic surgery, using a large incision for access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy, has for many years been the standard approach to many gynecologic procedures. Yet, open surgery can cause significant pain, physical trauma and a long recovery process. For women facing gynecologic surgery, the period of pain, discomfort and extended time away from normal daily activities that usually follows traditional surgery can also cause significant anxiety.
da Vinci enables GYN surgeons to perform more complex operations through just a few tiny incisions, thereby minimizing the need to perform traditional abdominal (open) surgery. As a result, da Vinci GYN surgeons can offer the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to a broader range of patients. Potential patient benefits include:
- Shorter hospital stay (one day in most cases versus 3-5)
- Significantly less pain post-operatively (often only over-the-counter pain meds required)
- Quicker recovery and return to normal activities (1-2 weeks versus 6-8 weeks)
- Fewer complications and less risk of infection
- Less scarring: small, dime-sized incisions versus 6-8 inch scar
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient and procedure.
If you would like to explore whether you are a candidate for robot-assisted sacrocolpopexy for prolapse treatment, ask your doctor. For a referral to a Chilton physician, visit our online physician directory or call 1-888-CHILTON.
Surgeons who Perform Robot-Assisted
Gynecological Surgery at Chilton:
Khashayar Shakiba, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, pelvic reconstructive surgery, uterine and vaginal vault prolapse, urinary incontinence, myomectomy, tubal reanastomosis
Steven Domnitz, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, myomectomy, tubal reanastomosis
Shaghayegh DeNoble, MD
Robot-assisted hysterectomy, urinary incontinence, myomectomy
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System visit www.davincisurgery.com.