Question: “I’ve known several women who had pelvic prolapse. Is it a normal part of aging?”
Pelvic prolapse is when the structural tissue that supports vaginal integrity is compromised, allowing organs such as the uterus, bladder or rectum to bulge into the vagina. Genetics, childbearing, autoimmune and chronic health issues are factors that can affect vaginal integrity and result in prolapse.
Mild cases may be observed or treated with medications or supportive medical devices worn internally. However, surgery may be indicated if a woman has associated medical issues or symptoms that affect her quality of life. These include pelvic pressure, pelvic pain, frequent urinary-tract infections, urgency of urination, discomfort with sitting or intercourse, and problems having a bowel movement.
If surgery is needed, it most often can be performed with minimally-invasive techniques either through the vagina, or Laparoscopically with key-hole-size incisions. I treat many of my patients with pelvic prolapse with a Laparoscopic tool at Scottsdale Healthcare hospitals called the DaVinci surgical robot.
The robot has thin surgical instruments that are inserted into the patient through tiny incisions. As the surgeon, I sit at a digital console and view and actual image of the surgical field in 3D, high definition. As I move my hands at the console, the robot’s surgical instruments respond in real time, allowing me to operate precisely without the need for large incisions.
Patients do very well after robotic surgery with less time in the hospital, faster recoveries and the ability to get back to work sooner.
The above is an excerpt from the 11/14/12 Publication of the Ask the Expert column in the Scottsdale Republic.