The goal of pelvic reconstructive surgery is to restore normal pelvic floor anatomy and give the patient her best chance at maintaining a normal quality of life. Most women considering pelvic reconstructive surgery have prolapse of their pelvic organs into their vagina and sometimes protruding out of their vagina. This prolapse may cause symptoms such as, a bulging or heavy sensation in the vagina, pulling in their lower abdomen, lower back pain, difficulty having a bowel movement or urinating, incomplete emptying, urinary frequency, urinary leakage with intercourse, and/or frequent urinary tract infections. While there are a variety of treatment options for this problem, surgery may be the right option in women who have tried these other options without success or those women who continue to struggle with quality of life issues related to their prolapse. Some women undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery elect to have vaginal rejuvenation at the same time. To find out more about these procedures, see the "Vaginal Rejuvenation" section.
Pelvic reconstructive surgery can be performed through an incision in the vagina, through an incision on the abdomen, or through several small incisions on the abdomen through which the surgeon places a laparoscope and instruments. More recently, we are using the robot to assist with this operation and this allows it to be done in a minimally invasive way. Often times, a patch or graft material is used to augment the patient's weak tissues and decrease the chances of future recurrence of the problem. The advantages and disadvantages of each approach should be discussed with your doctor.
These procedures are performed in the hospital under general anesthesia and take one to four hours to perform. Some patients may be able to go home the same day, while others may need to stay overnight in the hospital. Reduced activity for the first two weeks after surgery is recommended. After this, patients can begin to get back to their usual activities. Most patients will enjoy improvement in their symptoms almost immediately post-operatively and continue to have this increased quality of life, long term.