Surgical Repair of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Prolapse surgery is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the pelvic organs have dropped out of their normal positions, due to weakened, stretched or damaged support tissues. These sagging organs press against the wall of the vagina, creating a bulge in the vagina that can lead to pain, discomfort, pressure, and urinary and bowel dysfunction, among other symptoms.
When nonsurgical treatments are not effective, prolapse surgery is used to restore the normal structure and function of these pelvic organs. Surgery to correct pelvic support problems can be performed either through the vagina or the abdomen, depending on the support problem.
There are several procedures for correcting pelvic organ prolapse, depending on the type of prolapse (uterine, vaginal, bladder, rectal or small intestine):
- Uterine prolapse – the uterus drops down into the vagina
- Vaginal vault prolapse with enterocele – the top of the vagina (vaginal vault) drops down, often after a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
- Cystocele (dropped bladder, or anterior wall prolapse) – the bladder drops from its normal place into the front of the vagina
- Rectocele (posterior wall prolapse) – the rectum drops down and bulges into the back of the vagina
- Enterocele – the small intestine drops down and pushes into the wall of the vagina
One of the most common pelvic organ prolapse procedures is called sacrocolpopexy.
Sacrocolpopexy is a surgical technique that uses mesh to lift and anchor pelvic organs that have dropped down, restoring them to their normal position. It is typically used to repair prolapse of the uterus or vagina, but it can also be used for other types of prolapse.